View Full Version : August Frugals

7-31-11, 11:16am
I am having such a nice FFF kind of morning. Zach and I woke up at about 5AM and went for a walk together by the lake at sunrise. We sat out on the dock and dipped our feet in the water. It was beautiful! So relaxing.

Later in the morning the girls and I made cheeseburger pancakes and other fun pancake art. I made our initials, a pancake forest scene and the belly badges of all the Care Bears. We're going to the evening mass tonight, so it will be a relaxed morning.

Zach's car had some trouble yesterday so his best friend, who is a mechanic, is coming over to look at it this afternoon. We got him a 12 pack of beer to thank him.

Oh! I just realized it's not August yet. It's still July. Oh well. We'll need this thread tomorrow so I won't retype this.

Here's a picture of the cheeseburger pancakes.


iris lily
7-31-11, 11:23am
I LOVE those pancakes! That is so funny, a great idea!

7-31-11, 8:08pm
Hey Stella, you had me confused there for a minute. And those are some cool-looking pancakes!
I did my first survey for Pinecone research. It was pretty quick and painless, and they promptly sent me a check for $3.00. We also had a meeting at work last week, and we each got a coupon for a free lunch in the cafeteria. I guess every little bit helps:)
Kat, We've starting buying chicken breasts in larger quantities and freezing them, and it is working well for us so far. The price per pound is so much cheaper that we're kind of crazy if we don't do it.
I also moved a nice amount of money into our ING savings account this weekend. I'm determined to build that emergency fund back up!
We're going to Portland, ME this coming weekend, which will probably be our only chance to get away this year. We were able to book a room at the Holiday Inn for just $60. per night with our Priority Club Visa points. That's a really great deal because rooms in downtown Portland this time of year run at least $200 - $250. per night. We usually just go in the off season in the dead of winter, where we get a good weekend package deal at our favorite hotel (The Regency). So we're really looking forward to next weekend!

8-1-11, 10:38am
Cute pancakes, Stella! I bet making them was fun!

@rosarugosa--I do that with all of my meat, too. Actually, bone-in chicken breast goes on sale for around .99 a pound (I've seen it as low at .79 a pound), and then I buy a bunch and de-skin and de-bone it myself. I freeze the breasts and make chicken stock out of the bones and skin.

Nothing too excited here. Today is a get-caught-up-at-home kind of day. I feel very productive and haven't spent any money! So far I've gotten two loads of laundry in and picked up the bedroom, living room, sunroom, dining room, and entryway. I still need to clean those rooms (i.e. dust, vacuum, sweep, etc.), but it looks much better after just tidying. I also purged a few items.

Later I need to spend some time in the kitchen. I made toast this morning and used up the bread heels. I also cubed up some leftover cheese for snacks for DH's lunch this week. I have some ground beef I really need to use up, so I might make some sloppy joes out of it. We just had sloppy joes a couple of weeks ago, but I have everything I need for them, so we'll just eat them again! ;) I also need to pull the rest of the meat off the chicken carcasses I have in the fridge and put both (the meat and the carcasses) in the freezer. I can use the meat for all kinds of things and will make stock out of the bones.

I need to start planning for my next grocery shopping trip, so I will take a look in the freezer and see what we have sitting around first.

8-1-11, 11:16am
Today I am going to cut up the 12.5 lb boneless pork shoulder I got this weekend and cook the first portion of it in the crock pot. It was $25, so $2 a lb. That's not too bad. I am going to cook most of it and freeze the cooked meat for easy meals in the future. One portion I am planning to freeze uncooked and make next week when my priest friend is coming from out of town. We'll have 10-12 people here for dinner that night. I also have two chickens and a beef roast I am planning to cook in the crock pot for freezing.

We're having pulled pork sandwiches for dinner tonight. I am using some buns I got for free after a church event that I froze and serving it with a salad. I got the salad greens for $2 at the Farmers Market and this will be my third salad with them. All in all dinner will probably cost me about $3-$4 for 6 people.

My friend is coming over today to clean. I am so excited! She came over last night to hang out and I showed her all of the organizing projects I am working on. She likes organizing stuff too. I think between us we will be able to get things in really good shape over the summer, which is ultimately a good investment. The better things are organized the more efficiently we will function. I know I've been a little nuts about this lately, but after 4 years of shoveling my parents stuff out of the house and working towards making this a place we can be happy and comfortable for years to come it is so exciting to be getting to this stage. Not that we're done.

As I mentioned (with photos) in the Spirituality forum, I have been putting together a little prayer corner in the living room, affectionately called The Chapel. I did buy a rug for it and I am buying a kneeler, but I reused some stuff from other places in the house too. The crucifix is one I got for confirmation and the bulletin board was one I had previously used for a chore board. Prayer kneelers are mostly pretty expensive, between $150 and $250 for a small one, but I am getting a foldable prayer bench for $60. The entire chapel will cost about $80, which is less than the cost of just a kneeler.

8-1-11, 12:06pm
We haven't been doing much spending around here the last few days other than several jugs of Gatorade.

Saturday night we did a catering job for lack of a better word. We cooked a total of 200 lbs of chicken for a private party. 120 lbs of baked and 80 lbs of 4 oz portions of fried. This is quite a job for the size of our kitchen but we pulled it off and turned a nice little profit in the process.

Mailed freebies include coffee, a granola bar and an unexpected $30 check from quadreaders as a summer bonus. I've made a list and gathered coupons for tonights shopping trip. I save so much if I am organized and make my purchases at the larger grocery that is further away from the house.

8-1-11, 12:30pm
Took me awhile but I finally got the cheeseburger pancakes, must be the humidity on my brain. What a cute idea. Two almost August frugals that actually happened in July over the weekend. Saturday about noon we stopped by a local store that was having a free customer appreciation lunch so free lunch for us. Next the cylinder in an entry door knob broke. Thought the whole set would need to be replaced at $31.00 but found a box of misc. parts at a hardware with a new cylinder just like we needed for $1.00. Happy were we.

Stella, can you describe your portable prayer bench for me? I’m not quit getting the picture but would like to.

8-1-11, 3:33pm
Goldensmom, the prayer bench sort of like a stool that is meant to hold you comfortably in a kneeling position. The seat is slightly slanted so you can sit on it with your legs folded under you. Do you remember those computer chairs from the 1980s that had no back, but a slanted seat and leg rest underneath? It's a similar position, but the prayer bench is a simple, low to the ground wooden version. I will see if I can post the link from my iPad.

Prayer Bench (http://www.monasterygreetings.com/product/Prayer_Bench/Meditation)

Edited to fix link

8-1-11, 5:15pm
Had leftover chicken and half a can of peas... made homemade biscuits and chicken ala king. Turned out really well!

8-1-11, 10:51pm
Tonight we went and bought a rebuilt washer & dryer. For $464 we got the w/d, delivery, 6 month warranty and they'll take away the old machines. I'm pleased with that. Not so pleased that we ended up paying for them with the credit card. Guess I'll just have to get very intentional about paying it off quickly.

On top of the flooded basement, tuition increase & the big van repairs, Tyler called from xc camp tonight. He lost a contact lens in the pool. aagghhh!! He wears hard lenses which are more expensive than the soft lenses Ian gets. He did not take his glasses to camp :confused: I don't know why. When the eye dr opens at 8 am I'll call to see if they have his rx in stock. There is a chance that a friend of the camp director may be going up to camp tomorrow and we could meet up and he'd take the lens (and the dang glasses!) to camp. If not I may be going for a drive. Did I mention that xc camp is 3 hours north of here?

I'm doing a lot of whining here but I know that in the big scheme of things these are pretty puny problems. We didn't lose our electricity. We didn't have a basement full of nice things that got ruined. We're healthy. We're pretty blessed. :)

On the frugal front: Well, I did find the rebuilt w/d instead of just going to lowe's. So that saved money.
Washed some laundry in the bathtub and hung it to dry.
Tyler is at camp for 5 days so that's gonna save, water, electricity & grocery money LOL Not enough to offset the gas I spend on the trip to camp but hey, it's something lol
Talked myself out of stopping at Walmart to buy myself some new underwear. I don't really need it right now I just wanted it.

8-1-11, 11:08pm
After a $73 electric bill (for my small 1BR apt), I pulled out my fans and have been running those WITH the a/c to cut back on how low I have the a/c. I can't take the heat and it's been brutal here. Temp was about 95F today with heat index of about 106.

Taking lunch to work more. Grabbed a pack of soda at Target to take with me to work. After the layoffs last week (two people) at work and now company merging and moving in about a month, I decided to go through my books and sell some on Amazon. I'm close to being done with my 2.5 year theological studies program, and I'm selling off some of the secondary books that weren't as important. Some of these books are scarce, so one paperback volume is going for $40 *used*. I keep my books in very good condition, so I'm able to get much more for them. I'm also returning some books that I'd bought from Amazon within the past month - just some classics that I can get from the library anyway or that I have as ebooks.

I got my reimbursement from my parish for the $200 for my hotel room for an urban ministries conference I attended last week. My parish covered registration fee, too, so all I was out was about $40 for food on the drive. I carpooled and the fellow who was driving refused to take gas money from me, which was a pleasant surprise. It was a fruitful conference and in a way, a short vacation, as I made new friends and had some great conversations.

The next two weeks are one of my vegan fasting times for my faith - which really keeps the grocery bill down. In the summer, that means lots of veggies/fruit and either PB&J or tomato sandwiches.

8-2-11, 7:50am
Tradd, is the fasting a personal thing or is it something all Orthodox will do over the next two weeks. I like the idea of fasting from animal products for a period of time.

Azure, it sounds like you are having a very trying summer! I hope it gets better for you!

I had so much fun cleaning with my friend yesterday. She and the girls cleaned and organized their room and she cleaned the dining room and downstairs bathroom while I did the kitchen and entryway. The girls need help with their room about once every quarter or so. It was so nice to know that when I was interrupted in my cleaning, which was frequently, something was still being accomplished. That was so worth the money! Next week we will deep clean the living room and my room.

My friend's son came over yesterday too because the power went out at their place after a storm we had in the afternoon. Since we didn't know if the power was back on yet and I had made 6.5lbs of pulled pork, we invited them to stay for dinner. I have enough pulled pork from that crockpot full to make another couple of dinners and I still have another 6.5lbs left to cook. Considering I had 9 people for dinner last night I think I'm going to get my $25 worth out of that pork shoulder. I'm starting to feed larger quantities of people on a regular basis, so I need to start planning a little differently than I used to. Every couple of days it seems we have at least one, if not several, other people over for a meal. It may be time to start a price list and figure out what I need to have a lot of on hand. We have a membership to Costco and some things there are a great deal and some things would be cheaper to get elsewhere.

The girls had a friend over most of the day yesterday and she helped out quite a bit, so I made them malts as a treat. They loved it. These girls are always, always trying to throw an impromptu party when they get together. It's cute and I understand the appeal, but it gets messy and a little overwhelming sometime.

Yesterday I suggested that they start a Party Club. Once a month they can have a little party for their friends. They make the guest list, write out the invitations, decide on a treat to serve and make the decorations and I will help them make the treats.

They have a fund which they will all pay dues into from their allowance and we will use that for any specialty ingredients, decorative stuff or activity related stuff they want to have at their party. I'm willing to chip in stuff like flour, salt, butter, etc. I think it's a good experience for them. It involves budgeting, making money related decisions and evaluating things based on that Amy D "wow factor", coming up with creative ideas for FFF, reading through all of my party cookbooks, planning and executing a menu, writing the invitations and a whole bunch of other practical skills. It also brings the neighborhood kids together once a month, which is good practice at building social skills. August's party is going to be at the playground and they'll have punch (using some unopened cherry soda from my 4th of July party) and cupcakes.

8-2-11, 9:23am
Stella, it's something all Orthodox do. This one is the Dormition Fast. You can easily Google for more info.

8-2-11, 2:33pm
Yesterday my MIL brought over some lettuce and tomoatoes. I made a salad for lunch yesterday with them and some cucumber my neighbor gave me. I think I will have the same thing for lunch again today. Yum!

8-2-11, 4:11pm
Ate some cherry tomatoes and basil from the garden along with some fresh mozzarella that I bought on sale. I love summer - yum! One of our apple trees has started to drop apples, so picked those up, washed them, and now have them in the dehydrator making them into fruit leather. This is my first attempt at fruit leather, but it seems like a fairly straightforward process so we'll see how it turns out!

Not much else to report on the frugal front. Oh, except for the fact that we had an electric bill this month that was negative thanks to our solar panels! This was really surprising considering that we have had to run the A/C because of the heat and humidity. Of course, at this rate it will still take more than a decade to pay them off, but we still consider it to be worthwhile.

8-3-11, 7:21am
going to a wedding next month and decided to finish a quilt that is 75% done for their present. They are the type that will appreciate it so I won't spend any more for the gift.

Found a big stack of puzzles and educational games at a yard sale that I bought for $8. The people were moving and the woman was glad to get rid of them. She asked if I was interested in books as she hadn't gotten them out yet. she ran inside and came out with a box full. I got a big pile for 25 cents apiece, most were like new. My DIL loves gifts like this and then I put money I would have spent into a 529 for the grandkids.

Eating mostly from the garden. Yummy.

8-3-11, 7:23am
Fruit leather turned out perfectly! I can't wait to make more because this batch is going to gone within a matter of days!!!

8-3-11, 10:26am
Thanks for the info Tradd! I looked it up. That is a pretty strict fast. I mean that in an impressed way. Looking that up also reminded me to remind Zach that August 15th is a Holy Day of Obligation for us (Feat of the Assumption) and he needs to give his boss a heads up so he can go to mass.

Last night was National Night Out. My neighborhood wins national awards for our NNO, so it's always a good time. We met some new neighbors, chatted with some old friends. It was great. We do it potluck style, so I brought a pan of homemade brownies. I've been searching for a good brownie recipe and I've finally found it! As a bonus it used up half a bag of chocolate chips I had sitting around.

I won a $20 giftcard to Dairy Queen last night as a door prize. We'll definitely be putting that to good use! My friend won two meals at a really good burger place and yelled across the pool, "Stephanie! Find a babysitter, we're going out to lunch!" :)

Another neighbor, the mom of a friend of mine, said that she heard that I had another baby and was wondering if I'd like her to come over sometimes and just rock the baby while I get stuff done. Heck yeah! All of her kids have moved away so she doesn't have any grandkids nearby to rock. I am happy to lend mine. :)

I love my neighborhood!

8-3-11, 11:12am
Aww Stella how nice that you got a babyrocker and both of you can benefit. Not to mention the baby. BTW I loved your pancakes. My dad never cooked except when we went camping then he would make us each pancakes in the shape of our initials.

Drove up to drop off Tylers contact lens yesterday. Turns out the dr. has to special order these lenses so I ordered it but it won't be in til he's home from camp. But he does have a spare contact for his other eye which they said should do in a pinch but it won't be as comfortable. So I took that one and his glasses.

Rationalization ahead: ;) It has been pointed out to me that it would have been cheaper to overnight the lens. What with the price of gas and all. But I just couldn't bring myself to do it and make him wait the extra day. It's hot & humid & rainy and he's running 60 miles this week, sleeping in a "rustic" cabin in the woods. The lens is missing from his worst eye. And we spent a lot of money for this camp so I want him to get all the benefit from it he can. Maybe I'm just a "helicopter" mom. I don't know.

Frugalwise - I mended the seam of a pair of DH's work pants. Have another pair to do today.
Washed another pair of work pants & a shirt in the tub. Hung them outside to drip dry in the air for a while but it was sooo humid. We use a window airconditioner in the living room and then use a fan to blow the cool air into the rest of the house. So I hung the shirt and pants in the hall where the fan blows. It worked great. The clothes were dry by morning.
I need to get dog food. I usually get the 25 lb. bag but if I do that I won't have enough grocery money for the produce & things I'll need between now and the 12th. So I'm just going to get the smaller bag.
Will be combining the dog food shopping with a trip to the credit union & drug store.

And not really a frugal since I'm on the library waiting list instead of buying, but: my sister is coming up from Chicago this weekend and bringing me her copy of the lastest Stephanie Plum book - Smoking 17. Can't wait to get my hands on it. And I'll probably finish it before she goes home on Tuesday.

8-5-11, 9:13am
DH made a fabulous frugal score last night. We are moving to Israel in late December, and wanted one last visit with our family in Washington state. We also were unable to sell our home in Nevada prior to moving here to Florida, following the sudden death of DH's father. We'd accrued lots of air miles by racking up charges on a credit card (which we'd paid off every month), and in Vegas we were still on casino mailing lists offering free nights at various hotels on the Strip.

In short, we booked two round-trip tickets to Vegas from Ft. Lauderdale for the grand total of $20, arranged three free nights at hotels in Vegas and Laughlin, and secured permission from our friends in Vegas to stay with them on our last night in Vegas. We used Allegiant for our tickets to Bellingham, ignored all the extra optional charges (priority boarding, reserved seats, baggage handling), and got two return tickets from Vegas to Bellingham for $269. Add $90 for a rental car in Vegas, stay with family in Bellingham and Seattle, and poof! We'll be able to check on our house in Nevada, see friends there, see our family in Washington, and get around, for about $800, including food, airport parking, and "kitty hotel" for the cat. SO GLAD WE ARE OUT OF DEBT (except for the house, of course) so we can afford to do this now!

DH wants me to add/brag that we've managed to fly the entire hypotenuse of the 48 states for less than $300!

8-5-11, 9:30am
The new(ish) w/d are working very well. We replaced the dehumidifier Tuesday and went I went to the basement this am it was probably 80% dry! Had to throw away some keepsakes but nothing that I will really miss.

I had to replace our Brita faucet fixture. DH put the new one one and water was squirting out the cartridge release button. Looked the problem up in the manual. The suggested fix did not work so I called the company. There must be some kind of an issue with the fixture because as soon as I stated the problem she said you'll need to return it to the store. Well I had thrown away the box so she said that she would send me a new one! Cool! I don't even have to return the old one.

Our computer has been giving us problems. The mouse locks up and then yesterday we couldn't connect to the internet. When even Ians computer couldn't I decided to call the internet company. They had me unplugging and replugging things in. They had to go s-l-o-w-l-y because I am so computer illiterate lol. Then they had me call the router company. Found and fixed the problem! DH came home and eventually figured out how to stop the locking up. He had been saying we need to get a new computer. Well, that would be nice but it is not really a necessity. So, anyway, between the 2 of us this one is now working. Frugal win!

The air felt kind of cool yesterday morning so I decided to turn off the air. But the humidity was just so high that I was only able to stand it for about 4 hours before I turned the air back on. I guess 4 hours is better than nothing but I will be glad when the humidity levels finally drop.

I've decided to try making my own yogurt next paycheck. It looks easy enough. I like plain but I'm going to look for ideas for flavored also.

8-5-11, 12:44pm
Me again ;)

So Tyler's new lens was $30 less than quoted. Yay! And we are getting an $11 rebate on the dehumidifier. But we just got the news that our schools have gone to pay-to-play. Boo! $50/sport with a max of $100. Not sure if we pay for xc now and track in the spring or what. Also - my computer has locked up twice, make that 3 times, this am. :>(

Oh, and the city is having a trash drop off today & tomorrow. They set the dates before we had our horrible storms so I'm sure they are getting inundated with stuff. DH said he thinks they are making it up as they go along. Deciding what you have to pay to dump this or that. Luckily DH had the ad in his pocket when he went to dump the tire someone had dumped in our yard. They were going to charge him but the add said the first 2 tires were free.

Don't know what the cost will be to us but certainly less than if we had to dispose of this stuff ourselves. So I'm happy.

p.s. WooHoo No charge for all the stuff we dumped.

8-5-11, 2:55pm
I am beginning a project to put more colour in my living room. I'm going to start with this guy, who has been broken more times than I can count. I'm going to spray paint him either purple, turquoise or hot pink. Anyone have a vote?


8-5-11, 7:35pm
What a beautiful decorative piece Stella! How about a turquoise gold wash? I think with just a hint of gold showing through in a few select places, your ornament would be stunning!

8-5-11, 8:18pm
That could be pretty Mrs. M!

8-5-11, 8:53pm
I agree with Mrs. M.

8-5-11, 9:59pm
Stella, What is the color scheme in your living room? That would make all the difference, I think. I must confess that every room in my house is either blue & white or green & white, so I think I favor a more subdued color palette than you do. Mrs. M's suggestion sounds like a good one, though (turquoise=almost blue :) )
I earned $7.00 doing online surveys tonight. Not enough to make a huge impact, but anything flowing in instead of out is probably a good thing. And I think one of the survey sites might send me a product to try, which has some retail value and is something we could use. Since this is time I probably would have spent here or reading blogs or something of that nature, it feels productive to have done the surveys.
(In case anyone is interested, I just went to Pinecone Research's site and signed myself up http://www.pineconeresearch.com/. I had heard that they were one of the better ones. They're the folks that sent me the $3.00 check almost immediately. My E-Rewards gig seems to be by invitation only though).

8-5-11, 10:56pm
Received a generous monetary gift from MIL. Applying it i full to our mortgage.

8-6-11, 9:26am
This is a tiny one, but it made me happy. Was cleaning out my office and tidying up the little coffee area. I have a Keurig coffee maker, bought with some gift cards, because I don't care for the office coffee. I've been keeping the pods in the cardboard boxes from Amazon. I realized that it would make more sense to have a clear container, to look nicer and also so I could see when supplies were getting low. At first I was thinking I'd have to get one at the store, and then I found a perfect box in the supply closet at work (I think left by a colleague who had changed jobs.) Yay!

8-6-11, 1:05pm
we had a lovely mini vacation camping in our tent; having our own food made etc.

awaiting a $10.00 rebate check! found a coupon for dh at his sandwhich shop; also made up soup from old potatoes and threw in some broccli; along with cooking up a sweet potato; also made up six homemade flour tortillas he can use whith his rice and beans; all for his in house lunches

have been getting discounts from our innsurance drug progam for healthy foods; it adds up quickly

have been working diligently to eat up what we have; it amazes me the things i used to throw out; such as apples when the skin got wrinkly; when i see that i am throwing money away; it makes me want to work harder; and help dh to follow suit; gently and lovingly:)

sure makes me feel good when i see my eforts/our efforts in print

8-8-11, 3:05pm
Ok, so I was impressed that the replacement water filter came in today already. That was fast! Then I put the new one on the faucet. The light that lets you know when the filter needs to be changed didn't light up. checked the manual. If the filter doesn't light up call the company. So I called. Did you try taking the filter off for 30 seconds and then putting it back on? No. The manual doesn't mention that. So I did it. Nothing.
Well, she says I'll send you an postage paid envelope so you can return it.
That's fine, but what am I supposed to use after I send my filter back to you. I just got this filter from you today because the one I bought 2 weeks ago was broken.
I can send you a postage paid envelope so you can return it.
But what am I supposed to use when you have my filter? It's not my fault that 2 products in a row are defective.
So she checked with someone else and agreed to send me a new filter and include the postage paid envelope.

Turns out that the computer problem was easily fixed by buying a new mouse. I suggested buying a new mouse for a week before DH decided hey, it could be the mouse. :~) He tried Ian's mouse on our computer and what do you know, it worked. lol I am relieved that it was such an easy fix.

Made tortillas yesterday. Yum. Getting ready to make peanut butter cookies and/or chewy granola bars.
Took some more shaved turkey out of the freezer for sandwiches. I discovered that if I buy 2 lbs. and leave it all in the deli drawer it might be gone within 3 days. If I break it up into separate packages it lasts much longer.
Also cut some more of the cheese loaf into cheese sticks. Same thing if I just cut the 5 lbs of cheese into smaller chunks when DH is hungry he'll got rip a great big ole slab off and eat it but if I cut cheese sticks and put them into plastic tub the cheese lasts longer. And I also slice the cheese for sandwiches for the same reason. DH will cut 1/4 in slices but I cut them thinner and it does last longer.

A set of flannel sheets for Deja's bed is all stretched out so I'm cutting them up to use for rags.

8-9-11, 12:14pm
Rosa, the new colour scheme is blue with pink, purple and turquoise accents. I am finally making the room my own. It currently centers around a nice and expensive oil painting of Paris that belonged to my Grandmother. I am planning to give this to my sister, who is an art dealer and art collector. The painting feels weighty to me, laden with family expectations and old, not so great memories, but my sister likes it and it's more her style than mine. We're pillow-fight-in-the-living-room people. Expensive oil paintings need a quieter place to live. :)

My living room make-over will consist of getting a new rug (old one is quite worn), spray painting some thrift store items I have, like the chevallier, recovering the chairs on the chess table and getting some of my own photos and some of my cousin's artwork to hang over the fireplace. It should cost about $200 and most of that is the new, badly needed rug.

Today I am having some friends over. My Jesuit friend is coming to visit! I am making homemade brownies and my Grandma's rhubarb torte. I got rhubarb for $1 at the farmers market, but it wasn't quite enough for the recipe so I am supplementing with some frozen strawberries I picked earlier in the summer and cutting back a bit on the sugar.

The kids are having an FFF summer. Yesterday the girls and two of their friends went swimming and then played "Native Americans" outside making bows and arrows out of sticks and today they are playing with the dollhouse and working on puzzles while James plays with his matchbox cars. It's fun watching them do the kinds of things I did as a kid.

My friend came over to clean yesterday. It's funny that I have hemmed and hawed over this for so long. There are plenty of things that cost the same, or less, money that I haven't batted an eyelash about and get less value out of. I am approaching the week relaxed, organized and ready thanks to Monday Cleaning Day.

I'm keeping my menu this week simple and easy. Yesterday I made a chicken in the crockpot. Today I'm cooking the rest of the pork shoulder. Tomorrow's meal makes use of the rest of the chicken and Thursdays and Saturday's uses the rest of the pork shoulder. Fridays are meatless around here.

8-9-11, 6:39pm
Made my third batch of fruit leather in the dehydrator today. I've been using apples that have fallen off our trees or those that we've picked that have been less than fantastic for just plain eating. So far the fruit leather has been a big hit and I'm tempted to experiment with some other possibilities beyond just apples.

We're being overrun with summer squash and zucchini, so have been finding creative ways to eat it up. My favorite so far has been a combination of chopped summer squash/zucchini with sweet corn and black beans. We've been eating it with simple cheese quesadillas. YUM!!!

Not too much else to report on the frugal front. Just trying to enjoy the last few lazy weeks of summer before the school year starts up again.

8-10-11, 12:01pm
I had such a nice visit with my friends yesterday. The rhubarb torte and brownies were very well recieved. I was glad I had made a lot for dinner because we ended up having extra people for dinner. I am getting better for cooking for crowds on a budget. I must speak to my great-aunt and grandma about this. They regularly cook for 20+ people.

I am kind of at a loss for what to do today. Zach has my car today, so it's a stay at home day. My house is clean. I have a ton of baked goods to eat our way through. Dinner is simple and won't take more than 20 minutes and the kids are all relatively self entertained. I may actually have time to relax and read a book. Dad is home this evening so I think I will probably swim with the older kids this afternoon. This is a good dilemma to have.

8-10-11, 1:52pm
Haven't posted much on this thread since things here haven't been too terribly frugal! But I am enjoying reading about everyone else's frugal victories.

We did really crummy and ate out a bunch for a few days, but I have been back to cooking at home the last couple of days. Yesterday I went to one grocery store to stock up on chicken breast (88 cents/pound) and fresh fruit. Really only bought the loss leaders and will supplment with Aldi's. (DH is taking me shopping after work). I already have a menu and a list made up, so we should be able to stay within budget.

I saw some shoes online that I really liked and decided to see if they had them at my local store first (they almost never have my size). They did have them in stock, and I tried them on and didn't like the fit. Saved me the cost of the shoes plus shipping and handling/return shipping.

My sister sent me a wet bag that she made for the baby's nursery. It is adorable, and now I won't need to buy one. A friend of mine who has a little girl turning two this month offered me all of her daughter's old clothes. I will reciprocate by purchasing some nice things for her new baby--a boy due in December.

I needed to get a couple of frames for the nursery. White frames were $15; black frames were $5. Got two black frames and $1 can of white spray paint. Saved $19.

8-10-11, 5:14pm
I needed to get a couple of frames for the nursery. White frames were $15; black frames were $5. Got two black frames and $1 can of white spray paint. Saved $19.

That was brilliant. :cool:

Having a hard time being frugal this month for some reason. It's not as though we're off buying things we don't need or eating out unnecessarily, it just seems like there are more expenses for things than usual. Most of these expenses are related to one of my hobbies: running. Generally speaking running is a pretty frugal hobby, but I do like to do a few races each year. But at $124 to register for a single race, well, that's just getting a bit much. Fortunately, all 4 races are within driving distance so I don't need to buy a plane ticket, pay for a hotel, or pay to eat meals at restaurants, but still!!! Of course, racing season always means that I need to evaluate my gear and consider what I need to purchase. Last week it was a new Fuel Belt, $36 after the nice lady at the running store gave me a discount. I shouldn't complain, as the first Fuel Belt I bought lasted 8 seasons. This one seems to be of similar quality, so it works out to be a small cost per year. But I'll need a new pair of shoes (~$90) and some new socks (~$12/pair). The shoes are an expected expense, but I can't delay buying them as I need a second pair for my actual races (I'm running ultramarathons so it is common to change shoes/socks at the midpoint of the race for comfort reasons). I really need to shift my mindset and recognize that these expenses are actually an investment in my health. Running is a great, healthy hobby, and aside from the fact that it means I eat more than the average person, it really is a very inexpensive activity.

Of course, it might help if I could convince myself that I still don't need a running coach. At $275/month, that would be a serious added expense...but I keep thinking I won't be able to get to the next level (finishing a 100 mile race) without one. Why can't I just be satisfied with running some local 5k and 10k races? :|(

8-10-11, 10:54pm
Everyone's workin' hard on the frugal front! Nice to catch up on all the happenings.

DH and I are back from our vacation to Costa Rica, which was reasonably frugal but hey, it was a vacation so we don't tend to hold back too much. That's why we pinch our pennies the rest of the year :) Since it was for a project my ticket and the lodging was all covered. That was fantastic.

Tomorrow, Friday and Saturday we will be up at the North Shore unplugging. I start my new position on Monday and am excited.

Not too many huge frugals here, but getting back into it. I chose a card for my sister out of my stash instead of running to Walgreens. It's totally appropriate for her disaster (sewer backup) and just as funny as any Hallmark.

DH is talking about his school snacks. He plans to make a huge bucket of quick oats and pre-mix all his fixins. Now I couldn't snack on it every day but this man can. So, great for us! Costs pennies and he was taking granola bars, which cost dollars.

I bought my black shoes for the year today. The clerk suggested I have two different pairs to rotate. She said they will both last longer that way plus my feet won't fatigue by using the same pair every day. But at $120 or so per pair in that store (my fave: Schuler Shoes), I have a hard time with that. I will think about it, though. Makes sense. I suppose - what is the difference wearing out one pair of shoes in one year or two pairs over two years? And foot problems avoided would be priceless.

Not much else except frugal failures like a Punch Pizza dinner while we had plenty in the fridge. But we don't dwell on those here, so I won't. ;)

8-11-11, 12:15am
Just back from a not-very-frugal trip to the West Coast to visit family members. Glad to be home, back to our house and our cats and my kitchen! The trip cost more than I would have liked, but the bonding time DD had with her cousins & grandparents was well worth it. Next time, though, we will do the trip differently to reduce overall cost.

8-11-11, 7:15am
Welcome home Rosemary and Kelli! Perfect timing on the weather, both of you. The heat has finally broken!

Kat, that is a great solution with the picture frames. It always irritates me when things cost more just because they are a different colour.

cdttmm, you sound like quite a hardcore runner! I am in awe!

Zach got word this week that he will be doing 12 hour shifts all weekdays and 8 hour Saturdays for the next 3-4 weeks. On one hand, that is a lot of work! On the other hand it's a TON of money. The nice thing about having four little kids is that even with a ton of money coming in, the temptation to run around and buy things is very low because without Zach here to watch the kids, the hassle factor is quite high. :) I have decided to employ a slightly different strategy for the next month.

I am thinking that for the next month my biggest stressor is going to be errand running. The hassle factor is pretty high with four little kids. I think I will make one Costco trip a week and one trip to the dairy, buy a meat pack from the butcher and order anything else I need from Coborns Delivers. Delivery is free for the first 90 days and it will make life a lot easier. Also, it may save me from impulse buys.

My other seemly not-frugal expense, but probably good in the long run, is that I am going to see if my friend who cleans and sometimes babysits for me will come one more day a week as long as these nearly 70 hour weeks are going on. This would be $100 in a week, but that's a tiny fraction of what Zach is making per week and it would be such a huge sanity saver for both of us. It's good for my friend, too, who has been looking to make extra money. She likes coming over here and her son considers my girls and the neighbor girl who all but lives at my house to be his best friends, so he likes coming over here too. My friend and I get stuff done, she makes money, we both have time in the afternoon to have some coffee and chat and the kids all play together and have a good time. Then when Zach and my dad get home there is a clean house, clean clothes, happy kids, a happy Stella and a hot meal. This friend is also interested in helping me with canning, jam making, berry picking, apple picking, applesauce making, bread making, etc. She'll help me and we'll make stuff for both of our households. Since I have the equipment already that costs me next to nothing and she doesn't have to buy it. It's completely win-win.

Onto more standard frugals, last night I made my mom's chicken casserole to use up the chicken from Monday night's dinner. A friend/neighbor of mine who's DD was playing over here brought over a loaf of caraway cheddar bread she had baked. So delicious! I have to get the recipe from her.

We have decided to buy my Dad's laptop for a homeschooling computer. He is getting a new computer. I like the idea of getting a used one for the kids instead of buying new and I like the idea of having a laptop for them because it's easy for me to put it away and only take it out when I want them to have it.

8-11-11, 10:23am
Rosemary, welcome back as well!

Not too much time here, but wanted to mention for you, Stella, that if you PM me your e-mail address I will send you a Coborn's Delivers referral so that you get $20 off your first order! We LOVE it! In fact I may order groceries in the car from their iPhone app to be delivered the day we come back from up north. That's right, we're off to the north shore now for relaxation before I start work on Monday. See you on the flip side!

8-11-11, 12:03pm
@stella--I'd love to see some pictures of your living room re-do when it is finished! Sounds lovely--bright and cheery!

DH and I ate leftovers for lunch yesterday, and I made a big pot of chili in the crock pot for the coming week. I will probably freeze about half of it. Today I may make some bread to go with it. I didn't get around to that yesterday!

Went grocery shopping last night and stayed within budget.

Out the finishing touches on the nursery. I needed a plastic basket for bath supplies (since our bathroom is too tiny to store them in there) and thought I'd have to buy one. I rescued a forgotton one from the basement instead, and it was the perfect size!

One of my sisters sent some gifts for the baby yesterday. Many nice things for her to grow into and a gift card as well. We don't have any immediate needs for the baby, so we'll save the gift card for a later time when there is something she needs or something we would like her to have.

Another friend sent a monetary gift for the baby's college fund. We deposited that, and I can see that it is going to be a lot of fun to watch that account grow over the years.

Now I need to promptly get thank you cards out! :-)

ETA: Forgot to mention that DH earned a little extra money dog sitting. Since it involves getting up at 4 a.m., I try to let him keep that for his own use. Was proud he put all $80 in his long-term savings fund (he wants a new guitar and a tattoo! ;-) )

8-11-11, 2:52pm
Kat, when are you due?

8-11-11, 7:06pm
I sent you a message fidgiegirl. Thanks for the referral. I think getting groceries delivered is going to be a huge help to me!

8-12-11, 12:42pm
@fidgie--I am due on the 21st, so a little over a week to go yet!

I have really had the wants lately in terms of clothes and shoes and things. I don't know why, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I feel so huge and unattractive. I have worn the same five things for the last six or seven months and really want to feel cute again. But I have plenty, and shopping is not the answer! So I have been staying away from clothing websites and fashion blogs because they just fuel the "I need that" mindset.

Instead, I have been focusing on money-saving and debt reduction sites to help me re-focus on debt repayment. We did so well for awhile, but this past year has been a financial nightmare. Structural damage to the house, carpenter ant infestation, new plumbing needed, medical bills. We've managed it all without going into debt, so that is good. But I want to get a plan of action in place for paying down student loans again beginning next year. Hopefully we can use the remainder of this year to replenish our emergency fund and set aside a little nest egg.

Other than that, just cooking from home. I have been using up stuff from the freezer a lot this week. I used up a pound of cooked frozen beef roast in some chili, some canned pumpkin in pumpkin burgers, and some zucchini is zucchini fritters. I am also making some bread from the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" cookbook that I checked out from the library. We'll see how that goes!

I think for lunch today I will have a sandwich with a garden tomato and some cucumber sticks (also from the garden) as a side. I think I may make a smoothie, too, out of some frozen berries in the freezer.

8-12-11, 5:38pm
Well my frugal has come from lack of transportation!! Car keeps dying! He's been to the shop twice, and it has yet to cost me anything, but it also isn't fixed yet. The frustrating part is when I do decide to go somewhere I go out and it's dead!!
I have a wedding tomorrow and used wrap and card I had on hand, as for the gift Borders is going out of business and I found a wonderful cookbook for $7.99. Regular $24.99. Being at home has given me time to cook, using up what I have on hand. found a fun website www.pinterest.com that has lots of good recipes and ideas. Took my GS to store and picked up his school supplies using a coupon saved $15.00. Made a great batch of granola!! not sure what I saved, but I know it's healthy and yummy!

8-12-11, 5:44pm
I have really had the wants lately in terms of clothes and shoes and things. I don't know why, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I feel so huge and unattractive. I have worn the same five things for the last six or seven months and really want to feel cute again. But I have plenty, and shopping is not the answer! So I have been staying away from clothing websites and fashion blogs because they just fuel the "I need that" mindset.

Yes, that is why. :) I have felt like that during and after all my pregnancies. Totally and completely normal. It gets old wearing the same thing everyday and feeling like nothing really fits right.

We had a potluck at the pool with some neighbors, including a new one. It was fantastic and pretty healthy too. We had a fruit plate, a veggie plate, whole wheat crackers with cheese and sausage, a big garden salad, watermelon, vegetable fried rice made with brown rice and some black bean quesadillas on whole wheat tortillas. There were also rice krispie treats and chocolate pound cake, but hey. We swam. We worked it off. :)

It's good we had one frugal today because Zach missed work after my van, you know the one he's borrowing because his car is being repaired, broke down half way to work this morning. $750 later, my van fixed. Ugh. I try to console myself with the fact that 1) this stuff happens and 2) we have the money to pay for it. I was starting to feel a little sorry for myself and then I read an article on famine in Africa. It was a good reality check. I try to make a practice of donating money whenever I catch myself in a moment of self pity as an exercise in reminding myself how completely and totaly blessed I am and how little right I have to complain. Time to do that.

8-12-11, 5:45pm
LOL Mrs. B we cross posted. It's just not a good day for cars is it? :P

8-13-11, 2:48pm
Yes, that is why. :) I have felt like that during and after all my pregnancies. Totally and completely normal. It gets old wearing the same thing everyday and feeling like nothing really fits right.

Well, that is good to know. I did splurge on a beautiful pair of wine-colored boots a month or so ago. I had been wanting them for over a year, and they were finally on sale. I think that purchase will tide me over until I am able to lose some of the weight and see what my body will be like. I also did my hair and makeup yesterday, and that seemed to help a little. Maybe I'll paint my nails, too. I have a couple of bottles of nail polish around here somewhere!

Yesterday's bread turned out really well. Another loaf is baking as I type!

DH and I went out on a date last night, which was budgeted. Instead of going out to dinner and to a movie, we went out to dinner at a reasonably-priced place and then stopped at Redbox on the way home. We each got some $1 candy to nibble on, too! It was a really nice date.

Today is just another day at home. Laundry, cooking, etc. For lunch I ate the rest of my steak from last night, some eggs, and the last little bit of jello with fruit. I am going to get started on dinner here pretty soon so we aren't tempted to eat out just because it is Saturday!

8-14-11, 8:20am
Attempted my first batch of yogurt last night. It didn't thicken as well as i would have liked so I have it draining a bit in a strainer lined with coffee filters. It looks beautiful though and I'll probably have some in a little bit.

Friday I did the big grocery shop for this pay period. I still have $67 left for produce & sale items. I did much better at sticking to my list this time. At Meijer I spent $66 and saved $55. Only about $3.50 was coupons. I don't buy a whole lot of stuff that use coupons. The rest was Meijer promotions and sales.

Yesterday I cut up some cheese sticks & cheese slices. Separated some deli ham into smaller portions. Cut up and froze some green peppers. And cut up a cucumber for snacking. Also divided a package of gr. beef into 1 lb portions and froze it. And cut up the remaining strawberries and flash froze them. Not a whole lot of strawberries left but enough to stick into some yogurt or a smoothie.

Friday I bought a qt of blueberries from a roadside stand and made a crisp. DH spent some of his blow money on ice cream to go on top. Yummy! It was gone in a flash.

early morning
8-14-11, 10:38am
Our free-from-the-neighbors pullets are beginning to lay, thankfully! We still don't have their fence up, so they're just in the pen in the barn, but they seem pretty happy. I bought an old ice crusher so we can make coffee drinks - our blender won't chop ice, although it's supposed to. So between the "new" crusher and the blender, we should be set. I don't think this will save much money, though, because we never go out just to get coffee - but it should keep us from wanting to get coffee drinks if we're anywhere near heading home. Even the frappes from McD's really add up! The weather has broke here, which I'm hoping will save us a bit both in electric for the air, and food. When it's too hot to cook we spend more at the grocery on salad fixings and deli meats, and it's been too hot to cook since May, it seems! >:( I really hate summer. We are very conscious of our water use, but it doesn't seem to show on the bill, sadly. Our electric is high too - I bought a Kill-a-Watt meter, now I just need to use it.

8-14-11, 11:14am
I begrudgingly paid an $8 cover charge last night to see my friend's band play (plus and many others) until I found out it was a charity event for someone's liver transplant. Then I won a 30 minute facial at a local salon from the raffle! Double score!

8-14-11, 11:33am
Sorry on the car expenses, gals. No fun at all. We are looking at a vet bill coming up here. Mr. Corky has a lump that has grown noticeably since I've been out of town.

Azure, you have inspired me to take up my yogurt project again! Wish me luck! So many methods to try out.

Kat, any day now you will meet your little girl! So exciting!!

Here we had a pretty frugal few days out of town. Except for the gas, rental of the cabin, and a few meals, there were no expenses. All food is carried in and made in the cabin. It's very nice, really relaxing. Next year if we go in summer we will bring breading for the many, many perch we didn't know were lurking in the lake. We can have a perch meal over the fire.

I am starting my new position tomorrow at work. I'm excited to get back to routine. This summer was busy and went fast. I thought I would have had two more weeks left at the start of it! :) Oh well! I am hoping to keep working on upping my protein intake and decreasing my carbs. I ate a lot fewer carbs from wheat in Costa Rica just by nature of what I was served and I felt a lot better in the gut. There's somethin'.

Not too much else in the frugality department! Just a general update, I guess! :) Oh yeah, I remembered one. DH and I have some teacher cards to go to Minnesota Historical Society sites to preview them for field trips. We took advantage and went to Split Rock Lighthouse as well as the Northwest Company Fur Post in Pine City. We hope to make it to Mill City Museum before the passes expire on Labor Day. That was a $32 savings in admission fees.

8-14-11, 12:07pm
@fidgiegirl, I loved going to the Split Rock Lighthouse when I was a kid - so cool that you got to go!

Pouring rain here in MA today, so hopefully this will not turn into a spend-money-because-it's-rainy-and-depressing kind of day!

Made a huge batch of fruit leather in the dehydrator yesterday. Such a good use of our apples! Also made up and froze the base for sage pesto yesterday. Going to make some more today. Might try to make the base for a spinach pesto as well with the last of our spinach.

Went out to eat last night to celebrate the end of the summer semester and, hopefully, the completion of my thesis. Used up a gift card, but still ended up spending $60 for the two of us. Did bring home some leftovers, though, and the owners of the restaurant, who are friends, invited us to have dinner with them sometime soon, which was nice.

Was looking over our household expenses and decided to engage my partner in a conversation about reducing our cable bill. At nearly $200 a month, it is a little too much for me to overlook. Fortunately, he was receptive, so we will explore, together, the various options. I could happily live TV free, but he thinks that is akin to living in the dark ages, so we need to find a suitable compromise. I also want to find a way to reduce our cell phone bill, but I need to approach these one at a time. Living with someone who is a technophile when you are more of a Luddite makes for a challenge. :~)

8-14-11, 8:18pm
We had a nice weekend, but it most of it wasn't frugal.

The Party Club Party was the one shining star of frugality in the weekend. Someone donated some lemonade to the cause and my friend and I made a batch of cupcakes and we had a grand time. It wasn't a huge party. James was sleeping so it was my other three kids plus four more for a total of seven and nine adults. 16 people total and the cost was about $3-$4.

Afterwards my friend, who's kids are friends with mine, took the girls overnight for a sleepover and the boys for a few hours so Zach and I could go on a date. That was the not even remotely frugal part of the weekend. :) Zach took me to Psycho Suzi's Motorlounge, a tiki bar/restaurant I like that has a lovely patio overlooking the Mississippi river. He valet parked the car so I wouldn't have to walk and I got a drink and two appetizers. One of them, ****tail sausages wrapped in bacon with a brown sugar sauce, was OUT OF THIS WORLD! Yum! My French Dip sandwich was well above average quality as was Zach's burger. My Psychi Zombie tiki drink was yummy and completely rebooted my brain from my exhausting week, but it was expensive. At least the babysitting was free! We did have a great time, though. We had a lot of fun together, which we needed after a 60+ hour work week with two car breakdowns. Phew. I feel better now that I've confessed! :)

I found out this week that some ladies in my neighborhood have started a once a month cooking club that is meeting this coming Friday. I'm hoping to join, if not this month then next. My friend says every month is different. One month a woman who moved here from France hosted and did a French cooking lesson and everyone made a fabulous meal. One month they made a meal and made pesto for everyone to take home. It costs $5 for ingredients and some people bring wine or beer each time as they wish to. This week it is at the house of a neighbor I am getting to know and really like. She has, miracle of miracles, a lemon tree in her courtyard that is actually producing lemons. Remember, this is Minneapolis. I want to learn her secret.

Along a similar vain, inspired by a facebook post by Amy25, I am thinking of hosting a freezer cooking night for a few of my friends at my house. We'd bring ingredients and assemble a few kinds of dinners. One of these friends works at a warehouse grocery store that only sells to restaurants, but she can buy stuff there because she is an employee. She says their prices are quite good, so we might have her get some of the ingredients for us.

8-14-11, 8:51pm
cdttmm, congrats on the thesis! Feels soooooo good, I bet! Also, you inspired me to do some research toward getting rid of our DirecTV. DH likes sports, so I thought I'd see if the sports leagues have a streaming service. MLB does, but NFL does not appear to. So I told DH it would be up to him. I would prefer to get rid of it, and he might come around. He is not a die hard fan but does enjoy his games. A number of them are on the broadcast channels, though . . .

Stella, LOVE Psycho Suzi's, and haven't even been to the new location. We will have to get our butts over there. And lemons! Wow!

We had a frugal and delicious dinner. I made feta-olive-walnut turkey burgers with the above ingredients plus an Italian seasoning and Wochester sauce. I know didn't spell it right and am going to have to be ok with that. :) They were really good. We ate some green beans out of the garden and some squash from the freezer. Yum yum yum.

FFF will be a fire tonight with the inlaws.

8-15-11, 6:57am
@cdtmm--woo hoo on the thesis! :)

@stella--your date night sounds worth every penny!

DH and I had a glorious weekend sluffing around. We barely left the house except to go to the library and pop by a little local ice cream shop. We just ate simple things in--sandwiches, chips, fruit, etc.--watched Netflix, read, and napped. It was soooooooo nice. I told him we might as well as long as we still had the chance. Once the baby is here, there won't be many days like that for awhile!

One thing I have been working on is putting together a daily schedule, a weekly zone decluttering list, and a list of seasonal chores. I know to-do lists aren't for everyone, but I am hoping that these will help me stay on track once the baby is here and we establish a routine of sorts. I am listing this as a frugal because good time management /planning saves us money on groceries and entertainment. If I am busy, I also spend less time on the internet shopping or looking at things that I think I need to buy. I think it is going to be hard to balance newborn care, teaching, and household work. Hopefully this helps make the transition go more smoothly.

8-15-11, 7:07am
Right now I am enjoying a beautiful lavender and pink sunrise.
Last night I was sorely tempted to go out to eat but cooked some tilapia, steamed green beans, and cole slaw in about 45 minutes.
DD and I biked both days this weekend for frugal entertainment. She also had her first sleepover at our house and it went really well. The girls were thrilled with pretty simple food - a basic pasta dinner with raw veggies, make-your-own-sundaes for dessert (frugal and real chocolate sauce made my melting some chocolate chips), and yogurt parfaits for breakfast (with homemade yogurt and granola, blueberries, sliced almonds, and a drizzle of honey for those not used to unsweetened yogurt).

Kat - re: balance with a newborn... I think it is impossible to predict how that will go. My DD slept in 30 to 90 minute snatches for more than a year, day and night. I was exhausted and tried to keep up with things, but when I discovered that she would sleep longer if I was right there with her, I finally gave in and got some sleep myself. There will probably be weeks when just getting a shower and keeping everyone fed is what can be done, and that's good enough!

early morning
8-15-11, 8:54am
Guys, I am sooo wanting to visit Split Rock lighthouse! One of my travel goals is to visit all the US Great Lakes lighthouses that are accessible by car (I'll visit Canadian and water-only too, if I possibly can!) and climb all that permit tower access. I love history, lakes, water, old buildings....not so frugal, but cheaper than Europe, lol. And Europe has some AMAZING lights - visited only via page and video, but still!! This has been a fairly frugal weekend. No drive, no spend. Wanted some stain for a wood project, but made do with what was on hand, and it looks just fine. Did some mending, a little cooking, played with the kittens. Our neighbors lost their house, left a cat because they couldn't catch the kittens. Momma cat moved them all here, and we're working on taming the kittens so we can re-home them. Playing with kittens is fff. This should - MUST - be a frugal week, since there is little left in the checking, and a who knows when DH's check will arrive- and it's pretty much allocated anyway. I do have a couple budgeted lunches, and my twin cousin and I are going away for the weekend to celebrate our birthday, but that's pretty much free, and any expense will be covered by the change I collect all year and cash in for this. It's usually around $50, since I don't spend much cash ever. My charge card pays me cash, so I use it like a debit (in my head, at least!) for most all expenses. Anyway, this year I have $48.50 in change for my mini vacation.

8-15-11, 7:45pm
Fidgiegirl I love Split Rock Lighthouse! I haven't been there in years.

Kat, you are smart to be planning ahead. As Rosemary said, there's no telling how it will go. I was knocked out like a prize fighter after Bella and up on my feet baking things two days after I had Travis. Cheyenne and James were somewhere in the middle.

I was not terribly organized today as far as meals go. I forgot to take out the chicken I was going to use. Last minute I decided to make dutch pancakes to use up the peaches I had that are at that almost overripe, but not quite stage. They are in the oven now. Later on I will make the sausage biscuit things I made last week for Zach to take for breakfasts.

8-16-11, 6:30am
last night; had shrimp bought on sale at grocery store that would have cost so much more at Red Lobster; dh had italian; all tasted good;

made homemade tortillas for dh; who then made up rice and beans for filling

rented a movie from the library for free and had movie night; previous night went to free folk festival in town; wonderful music at no cost!

since my eyes give me trouble dh is reading YMOYL to me; we are going to go through the steps; didn't buy the book but have taken it out of the library instead

have had two medical appts; both took the bus and walked

dh is driving slower and discoveered how much he can save in gas in his communte to work

well thats about all for now

this keeps me motivated to continue to keep our costs down; be debt free and on the road to financial independence!

8-16-11, 10:54am
I have made a meal plan for the school year that takes into consideration my basic schedule. When I don't match those two things up, my menu and my schedule, I end up wasting food and eating out. Mondays are cleaning day, so I am going to do some kind of meat, a roast or a whole chicken, in the crockpot or oven with a simple starch and veggie. Probably in the winter I'll do a lot of roasted veggies and potatoes on Mondays. This will be easy, which is important because I am tired after a full day of cleaning, and it will give me leftover meat to use in another meal.

Tuesday is going to be food prep day and Tuesday through Thursday will be Mom's choice. Friday will be soup and bread and I will keep a few homemade soups and breads in the freezer for tired days. Fridays sometimes are a lowe energy day for me.

Saturdays are Mom's Choice and Sundays will be something simple or a homemade frozen meal. That is because we like to have a relaxed, easy day on Sundays. I think this plan will help me save money in the long run.

8-16-11, 1:51pm
I scavenged a foam pump and filled about 1/3 with soap (rest with water). IT WORKS GREAT! Thanks fidgiegirl for the suggestion. I also obtained a small bottle to put in one squirt of dish soap and the rest filled with water. It sure works great in the kitchen. My husband even commented on both of these "frugals"!! Thanks again to SL!!

8-16-11, 2:09pm
Frugal-one that is great that your DH noticed!

We are having a lovely FFF kind of day. We went walking in the park and ran into eight people we knew! Bella brought along a book of baby animals because she was hoping she could see one of the animals in the book at the park. I was skeptical, since most of the animals in the book are either exotic or farm animals, but we did see a Husky, so she found her animal. We also brought a children's field guide and observed some grasshoppers and a worm named Theodora.

The boys are napping now and the girls have discovered the joys of rolling down hills, so they are off doing that. When everyone is back home and awake we will go to the dairy to get milk.

The girls are doing a non-scientific science experiment today and drinking hot water to see if it will make their teeth shinier. Their hypothesis is that hot water makes dishes shinier, so logically that should work for teeth since both get dirty because of food. Of course they have no real way of measuring this, but they are having fun with it, so whatever. I sometimes think about how inexpensive life would be if I were as easily amused as they are. :)

Off to my favourite FFF activity, a nap of my own!

8-16-11, 4:25pm
[QUOTE=Stella;38342] The girls are doing a non-scientific science experiment today and drinking hot water to see if it will make their teeth shinier. Their hypothesis is that hot water makes dishes shinier, so logically that should work for teeth since both get dirty because of food. Of course they have no real way of measuring this, but they are having fun with it, so whatever. I sometimes think about how inexpensive life would be if I were as easily amused as they are. :) QUOTE]

Well, they could use their own observation before and after "the treatment." Would this hold up in a scientific journal? Probably not, but still--a great way to teach the scientific method in a way that interests them. Your girls sound so cute, Stella!

Not too much going on here. Yesterday I used up some bananas in some muffins--breakfast for the week. DH was doing some more work for his folks after work, so my MIL picked me up and brought me to her house so we could all eat dinner together. She let me mail a couple of things on the way, and we all had a really nice time.

This morning I heard DH rummaging around in the change jar. He was running late and didn't have time to pack his lunch. Luckily, I anticipated this and packed his lunch for him last night after he went to bed. :) Saved us around $5 and made him feel loved, too. Win-win!

I stayed at home today and have been using my new checklists to get some things done. I don't know how feasible it will all be after the baby comes--that is sort of unpredictable! But for now, it is helping me to stay busy and keep my mind off the fact that I am waiting...and waiting...and waiting...LOL I am a ball of nerves and feel so helpless, but I guess there is nothing I can do. She will come when she is good and ready and not one minute sooner! :-)

Small at-home frugals include tossing some old bread out for the birds (well, at least it gets eaten!), using up the last of a tomato for my sandwich at lunch (delicious!), and using a piece of foil from earlier in the week that ended up being the wrong size.

ETA: Forgot one! I kept an eye on my phone charger today and unplugged it as soon as the charge was complete. Usually I let it sit there all day sucking energy. A small one, but I am trying to be more mindful about energy consumption!

8-16-11, 6:29pm
Attempted to make refrigerator pickles for the first time today. Will report back as to whether they are edible! We have a few more cucumbers in the garden, so if this works, I will make some more later this week.

Also made the last of the spinach into a the base for spinach pesto. I'm sure it will be a welcome treat in the dead of winter.

Not much for other frugals to report. Just trying to be productive when at home, mostly cleaning and organizing. I'm hopeful this will result in a very "productive" trip to the dump and recycling center later this week!

8-16-11, 9:16pm
I exercised restraint at the farmers' market today. Just about everything is available and beautiful right now!

8-16-11, 10:16pm
We needed a new soap dispenser in the kitchen, and after seeing nice ones for $20 is the cute-gizmo store, we went to Goodwill & found a nice one for $1.99.

8-17-11, 11:04am
Had a yummy very frugal dinner the other night: pasta with broccoli and homemade french bread.

Just mixed up a batch of italian dressing to marinate some porkchops for dinner tonight. I am thinking of using up some leftover rice by making veggie fried rice to go with. That will also use up some older carrots. Also have some corn on the cob that needs to be eaten.

Paid Ian's fall tuition this am. He has money for his books that his grandmother gave him. Hopefully he has a few books from last year that he can return as well.

My homemade yogurt turned out ok. Only a small part actually thickened, the rest is sort of like a thick glue. But it tastes like it should. It was good enough that I'll try it again. I used a crockpot recipe.

I started rounding up the amounts of the checks in my checkbook earlier this year. I have now very easily saved up $52 which is kind of cool!

Hoping to have a yard sale in a few weeks but so far I'm having trouble finding an open day. But I have started rounding up items to put in the sale.

8-17-11, 12:42pm
So far a pretty frugal day. Had an early morning meeting, which I thought was going to result in coffee/pastry at a coffee shop. Not that I'm opposed to that relatively small expense, but I already had one of those meetings this week, so was hoping to avoid another. The other person offered up the conference room at his office as the meeting spot, so I had tea and a snack before going to the meeting. He offered me tea/coffee when I got to his office, which was really nice, but I was able to politely decline as I'll already had my (small) caffeine fix for the day. It was a short meeting so I went home and had a second breakfast, which is common for me. So no money spent eating high calorie goodness!!!

Yesterday was a relatively frugal day. My partner and I were both home and it was raining, so we rented a pay-per-view movie in the middle of the day and just got to enjoy a few lazy hours together! He brought home milk, eggs, and mixed greens from the farm, so that helps limit the grocery bill for the week. We are getting a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes, so we ate a tomato mozzarella salad for dinner last night. I ate the leftovers for lunch today.

Started a new part-time job working as a PCA for a woman who has multiple chemical sensitivities. She needs someone to do her laundry a few times each week in a fragrance free environment, so after doing a test load of laundry for her, she agreed hired me. So now I have another reason to stay at home as her laundry has to be washed, dried, folded, and packed in short order to minimize exposure to possible allergens. Seems like a win-win in my book since I would be home typically anyway, so why not get paid to do a little something! Of course, we don't have children, so I'm not battling a constant laundry war of my own already, which is probably why I can handle this!

Need to spend some time doing some decluttering and posting items on Freecycle. Way too much stuff in this house and I know that it adds to my stress and makes me what to spend money...but I sometimes really lack motivation for decluttering. Any motivational tips, fellow frugalistas?

8-17-11, 1:58pm
Kat, I think it's a good little kid science experiment too in spite of the lack of controls, the small sample size of data and the lack of a consistant and objective standard of measurement. :) They are funny little things.

I am making progress on my goals today, but it's like wading through peanut butter. I think my housekeeper friend is coming over today, though, so once she gets here I can get stuff done. We hadn't narrowed it down specifically but she's coming either today or tomorrow. Things move like a glacier around here. Very very slowly until suddenly they surge ahead. :) In the meantime I am doing some planning. Once a week I have a kitchen prep day, so I am going to make a list of things I want to make and freeze. Stuff like soups, biscuits, bread dough, muffins and quickbreads and pie crusts.

Two of my friends are in on the freezer cooking day. We're still working out where we will have the event, but it's a go. Now we have to think of what we would like to freeze. I was thinking a couple of kinds of meatballs would be good. Maybe some Asian style meatballs, some Italian style meatballs and some Swedish Meatballs. I'll have to think about the others.

I'm going to admit that I am feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. Zach is working 70 hours a week and 30 kids a week are in and out of my house eating stuff and playing and messing with my rhythm. I keep reminding myself that a couple of weeks from now all the kids will be back in school and Zach will be back to regular hours and things will calm down, but wow, the temptation to spend money right now to take the pressure off is really high. I am actually thinking of having my housekeeper friend just watch the kids today while I go out and reboot my brain or even take a nap. The laundry will still be there next week and we do all have clean clothes, even if they aren't all put away.

8-17-11, 6:31pm
Why so many kids in and out, Stella? Sorry if I already missed this somewhere else . . .

8-17-11, 8:11pm
Went to a state park for swimming and picnicking - even with the entry fee had a beautiful cheap day. Swam in the lake, had a nice lunch under the trees, took a nice walk down the shoreline. Summer is my favorite time of the year here.

My garden is in full swing so I am freezing assembled dishes and all kinds of vegetables. Last night I bought a salad to a pot luck that was chopped zuchini, tomatoes, peppers and black beans that I made from dried with some garlic in italian dressing. It was very good and almost free.

Great to hear all the things everyone is doing, living their day to day normal lives. It adds up when you live below your means day after day.

Oh, if you want a good read "The cheapskate next door" is a great one. You will love this guys stories of riding his bike around the country to do a book tour then donating what he saved to charity. Quite a guy.

8-17-11, 8:15pm
Why so many kids in and out, Stella? Sorry if I already missed this somewhere else . . .

My "Year of Hospitality" has been very successful. :) it's the kids neighborhood friends and my friend's kids. My kids are like me, really social.

8-17-11, 9:57pm
flowers, nice about the garden!
Stella, aha. It's good to have so much love around. :)

Here, a non-frugal day, though I did skip iced tea when out for lunch and also later in the afternoon. I can make it at home for pennies, it's silly to pay for it out at restaurants. So, remembering that, I am brewing some iced tea in a Nalgene to take to work tomorrow. Every little bit . . .

I did get DH's birthday gift for a discount at Borders and also one of the items was buy one, get one 1/2 off, but I skipped the second item. He didn't need or want more than the first thing and so it would have just been silly to spend ANY money on a second unwanted item, even for a deal.

8-18-11, 2:39pm
Well, my DDs and I have been sick this week, so no supermarket visit & eating down the food in the fridge and cupboards has been the plan. It has made me realize that I really need to keep just a few staples around to make it through 3-4 days. Not going anywhere has saved some $!

Next week I am taking off to watch DDs while DH goes back to work. The plan is not so much to save $ as take advantage of sunk costs: we will take a trip to the aquarium with membership bought earlier this year & trip to pool with tickets bought earlier in the summer. Also if we're ambitious a trip to the free zoo with friends (total cost = shared parking and lunch/snacks from home). Otherwise, we'll do a few more decluttering projects, which will hopefully save on cleaning time.

Another project is coming up with a good pantry and meal plan for when school starts for all 4 of us while lowering our weekly grocery expense. I think it's do-able, but will take a lot of organization on my part.

8-18-11, 4:15pm
Made 2 loaves of bread and hamburger buns... fairly easy and good. Posted in the food forum too.


8-18-11, 5:05pm
Made 2 loaves of bread and hamburger buns... fairly easy and good. Posted in the food forum too.


Thanks for the link, frugal one! I tried making homemade hamburger and hot dog buns back in May, and it was an epid fail! I have no idea what I did wrong, but they were pretty awful! I'd like to try again this fall, though!

I felt like garbage pretty much all day yesterday. I didn't accomplish anything short of going to the doctor and picking up 10 pounds of ground beef on special (1.99/lb).

DH offered to make sandwiches for dinner, but I am sick to death of sandwiches, so we ordered pizza instead. It wasn't overly expensive, but I do feel guilty about it. I should have eaten the sandwich and been grateful for a) having food to eat and b) a husband willing to make me dinner. But instead, I whined about how I didn't want sandwiches and pizza sounded better. I was determined not to let that happen again today, so I made a big batch of spaghetti for us to heat up.

I also made up a list of Christmas gift ideas for each family member so that I can try to figure out a budget. Usually I have all of my Christmas shopping done by now--or at least the money saved--but this year has been tough financially, so we haven't really thought about it. Oh well! Even though I am getting started a bit later than usual, I still have plenty of time. :)

8-19-11, 9:40am
Stella, aha. It's good to have so much love around.

Yes it is. The plus side of all of this is I am never lonely. :)

I decided since I was up at 4AM tonight I might as well make some use of my time and I made peanut butter and chocolate chip granola. Wow! That stuff could be habit forming. It's quite filling too. I think the kids will like it. It's not low calorie I am sure, but at least it has nutritional value, which is more than can be said of a lot of cereals.

Yesterday my housekeeper friend came over and we tamed the laundry, washed the kitchen windows, washed the kitchen curtains, scrubbed down all the kitchen cabinets and appliances and pulled the house back together before it got out of control. I am glad she came yesterday instead of the day before when I was going to have her watch the kids so I could nap. I feel like I got my moneys worth for sure! She even scrubbed up my baby who now has that freshly cleaned baby smell. Heaven! He's like a shiny new penny.

Another friend took the older 3 kids to her house for dinner so Dad took me to Smashburger. That was a nice treat and it was nice to get some one on one time with my dad. We did have Travis with us, but he pretty much just sat there watching people. He loves watching people.

Today I am going to make chicken stock with the leftover chicken carcass from Wednesday. I think I am going to make wild rice soup out of it. I saved the meat and will use it to make chicken salad pitas tomorrow. The girls and I are going to make cookies today, some for Daddy to take to his buddies at work who are looking at a 76-78 hour week when all is said and done, and some to the next door neighbor who had a birthday yesterday.

I got my homeschool plan written out for the first two months. I'm very excited. It's going to be a lot of work, but a lot of fun too. I've found some good free resources and I am making use of our memberships. There are some things I'll have to buy, but it's mostly stuff like printer ink, some stuff for science experiments and some ingredients for recipes. The one exception is that I am buying a bin organizer. That will be a little pricier, but ultimately I think it will be worth it.

8-19-11, 10:56am
@stella--I love that clean baby smell! I made some of your peanut butter granola this morning, and it was really good! I think I needed to bake it a little longer, though, as it didn't really crisp up all that much as it cooled. It's still delicious, though!

DH got his profit sharing yesterday. That will go straight into the bank in case we need it for medical bills. We saved up as much for the birth as the insurance company told us to, but you never know what could happen! I feel better having a little extra money in case we need it. DH and I also decided to start aggressively attacking student loan debt again next year. We are hoping to have it all paid off by the end of 2013, but we want to have another kid, too, so we'll have to see how that plays out. Regardless, it feels good just to be on the same page about it and be working towards our goal again.

Tonight I am making BBQ chicken in the crock pot with some California style veggies. I can dump it in around noon and then forget about it until dinnertime, which is my kinda meal right now! :)

I think that I will stop by the library when I run out to mail some letters and put DH's check in the bank. I finished my current book and need something to read to fall asleep at night.

8-20-11, 10:52am
Kat, my oven is usually a little fast, so hopefully another couple of minutes will make a difference for you.

Zach got the day off! One of his crew mates intentionally, but casually mentioned to a middle manager that they had worked a 70 hour week by the end of Friday and they told the guys they could have Saturday off. I had some pork sausage and buttermilk so I made a triple batch of homemade buttermilk biscuits and some sausage gravy. They were the best biscuits I have ever made. Hands down. Half the butter was frozen because I didn't have enough in the fridge, so maybe that made the difference. Whatever it was, they were beyond words. I am planning to freeze the extras.

That's pretty much it. Saturday, being my only errand running day, has pretty much become all about spending money. I am at least trying to plan things to minimize the spending.

8-20-11, 11:34am
wow i REEEEALLY want peanut butter granola now!! with greek yogurt and banana slices. mmmm.

this has been a crazy week. i finally started my contract job (which is great and i accidentally got a window office and a mac to work on!), we sold a TON of orders for wear the shift after an article i wrote for the hairpin came out last week, and thursday my grandma had a heart attack! she's bouncing back already and is out of the ICU and on a normal floor convalescing, and the prognosis is good for her to still be able to be fairly independent, so although it's been stressful, we are all grateful because it could have been a lot worse. frugal part of this: i haven't wanted to eat at all. blerg.

to add to the pile, my fiance's birthday is today, and we had booked a week away at a beautiful yurt in the blue ridge mountains -- we were planning to drive down this morning. we'd both really been looking forward to it all summer (in a "i can get through this hard time by remembering we have a week away soon" kind of way) so it was a bummer to cancel. but we are through the disappointment now and still having a blast celebrating his birthday at home. and we got about half our money back from the booking.

today i'm making us some breakfast, going to the library to get my grandma some books, and then going to visit her in the hospital for a bit. last night, after we'd been there around 5 hours, i had the sense that she actually would have been able to rest easier if we weren't there and she didn't have to worry about entertaining/being strong for us ... so we're going to cut our visit a little shorter today. my bro and sis-in-law are coming down and bringing their baby girl to visit which should cheer her up, too.

hope y'all are having a great weekend.

8-20-11, 10:18pm
Madgeylou - hope your grandma gets better soon.

Did the rest of the back-to-school shopping today. DD2 didn't need anything but shoes - did get her 1 new t-shirt since we "shopped" for her from DD1's hand-me-downs. DD1 needed shoes, clothes and a backpack. Was able to get $80 worth of clothes for $30 thanks to gift cards and 1/2 off of DD2's shoes thanks to the clerk at the store telling me about the deal they had going. Plus two $10 cash coupons at Kohl's in case we need anything else before school starts. Then after decluttering some more in the basement found out that DD2's old winter coat still fits. We'll get the rest of the stuff DD1 needs at the thrift shop. Whoo hoo!

8-21-11, 12:26pm
Madgey, sorry to hear about Grandma. I'm always personally really awkward in the hospital. I always imagine that I wouldn't want anyone visiting me if I were in the hospital, so then I feel like NO ONE wants anyone to visit them in the hospital, and that's not true. So you are wise to be cognizant of her stamina, but also good to go see her.

Congrats, Bastelmutti, on the back-to-school frugalness.

We are off to celebrate DH's bday momentarily. Will report later! It's a surprise, though he may know and be keeping it under wraps as well. :P

8-21-11, 2:04pm
Madge I am adding your grandma to my prayer list!

This was not a frugal weekend. Confession first. :) We took the girls to see Captain America in the theater. On Saturday night when prices are not cheap. And we bought popcorn and pop. My justification for this is that 1) they needed to have some time with Daddy and 2) they are total Superhero freaks and their favourites are the Marvel Avengers, of which Captain America is one. Also they have been extremely, extremely helpful with their Dad working all of these hours, cheerfully and of their own volition doing chores, entertaining baby brothers and even getting breakfast for James. Above and beyond what I would expect of a 6 and 7 year old by a lot.

This weekend was expensive! We went shopping for school stuff. I did hold off on my plan to buy some more storage drawers and I am rethinking some storage strategies. I have an unused linen closet by the kids' rooms that may work for some of the less frequently used supplies. I am stocking up on a lot of school supplies now, like notebooks and markers, because they are so much cheaper this time of year than any other and I know I will use them. I am colour coding it too. Bella's notebooks are blue, Cheyenne's are purple and mine are black. That way they aren't using my housekeeping notebook for writing and drawing in and I won't be making grocery lists in their school notebooks.

This week a neighbor I have been getting to know brought the kiddos some fun stuff including a monster costume that Bella wants to wear for Halloween (and Christmas, for some bizarre reason), a robe in Cheyenne's size and a really fabulous collapsible Barbie house they are using for their My Little Ponies. They were so excited! She's a really sweet lady. I know I say this a lot, but I really love my neighborhood. The halloween costume means that I have half my kids costumes figured out. I am thinking James might be a robot. We could make him a robot costume from recycled materials. Cheyenne wants to be Iron Girl, a superhero of her own making. Last year she was Purple Skeleton Girl, another superhero of her own making. I may make the Iron Girl costume similar to the robot costume since, like Iron Man, her superpowers come from a technologically advanced suit of armor. A trip to AxMan may be in order.

Today I went to order our tickets to see the King Tut exhibit this week at the science museum. Kids are free in the evening during the week and I get the member price, so it was much, much cheaper than the regular ticket price. I am excited because this exhibit was at LACMA when I lived in L.A. and I didn't get to see it.

8-21-11, 4:21pm
Frugal camping weekend with friends. Lots of fun, no spending.

8-21-11, 9:06pm
Madgey, Hope your grandmother makes a speedy recovery.
Stella, I think I want to start dressing up as a monster for Christmas too! That just cracked me up!
I hemmed a couple of pairs of pants this week instead of sending them to the tailor. Sent in a rebate for $5.00. Friday night was cloudy and dreary and DH was working, so I went out to the garden and cut a nice bouquet of rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susans). Instant sunshine - for free! Had a couple of very nice dinners at home courtesy of DH. He also baked a cake for me to bring to work tomorrow (my high school interns are leaving this week), so that definitely saves me money and will taste better than anything I could buy.

8-21-11, 10:12pm
@rosa, how nice of DH! People love homemade baked goods.

Our day was so nice even if it was decidedly unfrugal. It was my DH's 40th and we all went to Brit's Pub for lawn bowling and lunch. He got some nice gifts, he's been wanting to go do that for a while, and it was pretty much a surprise. He knew there would BE some kind of surprise but didn't know what kind, so he was please. Then we bought a Punch calzone to split for dinner. Such a nice day.

I made some rice for making veggie/rice mix for lunch this week. Good thing I was making this entry because I realized I forgot the rice on the stove. It's ok though.

8-21-11, 11:21pm
Stella, I hear from coworkers how much they have to shell out for school-related stuff, and they're not even homeschooling. You have my sympathy.

Last week I paid my tuition for my current class - $400. I was thrilled to find out at the end of class yesterday that the fall semester - which will be my LAST - will be a set of several topics, several meetings each. And tuition will be MUCH less. My budget was thrilled to hear that!

A friend came over to borrow a book from me today, and she saw my stack of books listed for sale on Amazon. Church friend who has the same interests in books. She started drooling when she went through the books. She asked me to send her the link to my Amazon "store." She asked why I was selling. I was unapologetic - told her I have all the dental work plus car needs breaks. Her DH is a CPA, and they're among the few friends I can honestly discuss finances and associated things with. They're actually my choir directors, so we're together a lot.

Switched from my pricey Nexxus shampoo (even though I bought it at Target) to the Garnier Fructis stuff. And the Suave good-smelling lotion. Heck of a lot cheaper than what I was using before.

My hair dresser cut my hair really short in early-mid July. Turns out to have worked out wonderfully. I simply wash, towel dry, put a small dab of gel on it, and let air dry. I spend $40 for a hair cut and brow wax. If I'm able to extend it to 6-7 weeks in between cuts, that's fab.

Found a cheapo mug at Target to take to work so I can make instant oatmeal for breakfast in the morning with hot water from the coffee machine. I didn't want to muck up the good thermal mug I keep at work with oatmeal, plus I want to be able to drink from it while eating breakfast. I'm now keeping a glass bowl at work, too, and I bought a bunch of cans of soup/ravioli on Target at sale. I'm simply keeping those in my trunk until I find out exactly when my office is moving (the current location is still waiting for permits from the municipality so they can move some walls and such).

Sat down and considered what I'm going to need in the way of clothing for this fall. I need a new pair of winter boots, 2 pairs of Cuddle Duds as the ones I've been using are 11 years old and badly need to be replaced. I also need to replace my Merrell dress(ier) shoes I wear for work (Merrell Emme Spire, a smooth leather Mary Jane). My feet turn to the outside and I've worn through part of the soles on both shoes. You can see it and it just looks bad. The shoes are $90, but I wore them virtually every day, so IMO, they were worth the money. Comfy.

My efforts to take lunch more often to work have borne fruit. I went to Subway one day last week and the manager even asked me where I'd been! ;-)

8-21-11, 11:39pm
The past 24 hours I've done two frugal things that please me.

After more than a decade playing with the same tennis rackets, I decided to buy a new one. I've tried a few loaners the past couple years, but none hit my fancy. But friday I tried one I really liked. A friend had it as a loaner, but did not know how much it would cost to buy. When I got home, I looked it up and discovered it was - of course- very expensive. I looked around could find no deals. Then I looked on ebay and found a brand new one, right grip size, for more than $100 less than retail. ... So I made a bid and was lucky no one else bid on it... so I got it at the bottom price. It will cost about $25 to have strung, but in the end I will be well ahead. And from out of state, so no tax will equal S/H.

The other frugality is much more modest. I use garbage cans to mix special acidic water for watering the blueberry plants. Occasionally one springs a leak. Today I wondered how soft, flexible cheese wax would work as at least a temporay fix. So this afternoon I went out and 'puttied' some in one of the tiny dry holes - and it worked. I have no idea how long it will hold, but it was fast and easy and there was nothing to lose.

8-22-11, 7:10am
Going camping for a few days in Maine. Yay! Fru gal vacation where we will bring food we would have eaten at home. Did splurge and bought a nice camp kitchen a few weeks ago but used our "cash back" from our cc to put towards it. I've always wanted one of these and got one with great reviews. Very proud that we bought the one down from the mercedes benz model because we didn't really need it. We ended up bringing the dog because it was too complicated to leave her home. I wish we didn't need to...it's like bringing a toddler....

8-23-11, 6:33am
LOL Rosa now I'm picturing the whole family dressed as monsters for Christmas. That would be a candidate for Awkward Family Photos (http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/) for sure. :)

Kelli Happy Birthday to your DH! I love Brit's Pub. That's where I went for my 21st birthday.

Tradd, isn't it nice to have friends you can be real with when talking about finances? I have a few friends like that and it is so refreshing.

Gina, the cheese wax thing is total genius!

Merski, have fun on your trip! I am jealous of you and Rosemary! Camping isn't in the cards for me this year because of Baby T and Zach's crazy hours, but I love it and miss it!

I took a page from Rosemary's book yesterday and poached chicken for use in future meals. I actually used some of it last night for mediterranean chicken salad pitas. That also used up some tomatoes and cucumbers I have.

The King Tut exhibit was a lot of fun and I think between that and the Mummies IMAX movie the kids have gotten really enthused to learn more about Ancient Egypt. That's pretty much priceless.

Today the kids and I are going to bake cookies. Even James is going to help. He's very much into helping these days. A third of the time he speaks he's saying "I help you!" which is nice because the other two thirds are "NO!" and "Stop it!" The cookies are for our friends who had to put their dog down yesterday. They need cheering up.

8-23-11, 10:14am
I love reading everyone's tales of frugality and the confessions. Makes me feel like I'm not the only one who doesn't have this frugality thing done 100%!

Doing fairly well over the past few days. We've been eating a lot of chard, summer squash, and tomatoes from the garden as well as peaches. Although, we discovered yesterday that the deer helped themselves to most of the peaches and all of the pears from one tree. Ugh. If I ate meat and hunted, I could simply claim we were fattening them up for later, but that's not the case! Oh well. Made another batch of refrigerator pickles from the cucumbers. The first batch has already been consumed, so looks like we've finally figured out how to handle the cucumber harvest!

Downloaded a free business book from Amazon this morning onto my iPhone. So far the only books I've downloaded are free books, which is good. Especially considering that I bought 4 new books from Barnes and Noble this past week. Doh! At least I had a 15% off coupon for one of them. And all 4 had been on my wish list for at least a few months, so at least I'm not buying them impulsively. I also got a few books from the library through inter-library loan. This is a new step for me, so I'm excited that I'm making progress on my book buying habit!

Think I will try my hand at making yogurt and granola over the next few days. My partner will be out of town again so it gives me a some time to experiment with projects like that.

early morning
8-24-11, 12:25am
Main frugal of the week - My twin cousin and I had a wonderful, fff birthday weekend at Indian Lake, and I spent only $25 and the gas to get there (approx. $9). The $25 included a nearly-new toaster oven, a sterling silver and amber charm for my bracelet, a bit of vintage fabric, and a few other fab finds! We took most of our food from home, had a coupon for McD's for one night, and watched lots of DVDs from my cousin's collection. Stayed at another cousin's cabin, no cost. Rethinking our fall vacation plans, as our court is facing a huge budget cut and layoffs. I'm not too worried about my position, but wage cuts were up for discussion, so I think sitting tight would be prudent at this point! I can roll my vacation time to next year, or I can just take some time and work around here, but either way, I'm not comfortable spending extra money right now. Our expenses are up, the e-fund has not recovered from the work we had done this summer, and our vehicles aren't getting any younger.

8-24-11, 9:05pm
Not much action here on the August Frugals thread as we head rapidly toward the end of the month...wonder why that is? Hopefully it is because everyone is off enjoying - in a frugal way, of course - the end of the summer and the back-to-school moments. The last week has been filled with far too many meals out...I'm not even going to attempt to justify them. But, in good news, one of the meals out resulted in booking a new gig for work with the possibility of more to come. Woot! School starts next week, so it is back to teaching. Although I'm sure I could come up with a list of new clothes to buy for the start of the semester, I have been avoiding the thrift stores (and the regular retail stores) and trying to focus on the fact that there is more than enough in my closet to get me through the semester. I only teach 2 days per week and I was teaching 4 days a week last year with an even smaller wardrobe, so this really isn't an issue! Did breakdown and buy some new books as reference material for teaching, but other than that have no need to buy any teaching supplies - at least not that I can think of at the moment!

Looking forward to a frugal weekend. My partner and I are going to run a trail race together. The race is local and starts a mere 3 miles from our house, so even with the entry fees it is a very inexpensive activity!

8-24-11, 9:30pm
Have to admit that this was an decidedly unfrugal day. I am disappointed in myself. I was right by a Staples, where I get a 15% discount, but forgot I needed an ink cartridge. I remembered when I was far enough away from the Staples but close enough to an OfficeMax to get one (for full price). Picked up stain (full price) at Home Depot. Had takeout for dinner. I was so busy today that I was totally falling into the easy-rather-than-frugal approach to everything. Boo.

We need to cook up some freezer meals to avoid this takeout scenario. I also MUST find out how to put in for mileage at work. I will be paid it, but don't know how to put in for it. I need to, because Bryce and I will be driving separately now and I will be driving a lot for the job itself. We can recoup some of it.

8-25-11, 11:22am
Well I owe some neighbors some homemade cookies as a thank-you. James took a header into a bookshelf and ended up with six stitches. It looked like something out of a horror movie, but he was laughing and smiling most of the time. My next door neighbor calmed me down and held him for me while I called Zach and my Dad and my other neighbors, a grandma and grandpa who are parents of seven kids, came over. Bella decided she wasn't leaving James' side and came with me. I'm hoping to make snickerdoodles for the next door neighbor since his wife says they are his favourite and oatmeal chocolate chip for the other neighbors.

I am breaking out the Tightwad Gazette again for inspiration. We aren't saving money as fast as I'd like to and I know I could reign in the spending a bit. Fidgiegirl, like you I'm finding I'm slipping into easy but not frugal mode.

The kids got their Ranger Rick Magazine yesterday and it has a section for identifying seashells. I am going to save this for our trip and study of oceans.

8-25-11, 12:17pm
I forgot one. I bought a package of Star Student Awards from the Target dollar bin. I wanted something to use for recognition that isn't food or a thing. When the girls went to public school they loved getting Panda Paws, a similar idea, and at $1 these are cheaper than printer ink.

8-25-11, 6:12pm
Fidgiegirl, like you I'm finding I'm slipping into easy but not frugal mode.

You know, I think we need an "Easy AND frugal in Sept." thread. School is starting next week for my kids and my school started this week - next week it's also back to work and volunteering. It's going to be crazy - by choice. Yet, I also want my kids to be able to do the one activity they each picked (DD1's is already paid for) and cut back on grocery spending a bit. How? More importantly, how to stay sane?

8-25-11, 7:16pm
That is a genius idea for a thread Bastelmutti!

8-25-11, 8:28pm
I know August has not been a good month for me either (while we are all confessing..lol) but, generally been trying not to over spend needlessly....
Early morning asked a ways back about DH but, I couldn't bring myself to post...he has had 2 hospital stays one for 2 days and the other for 9 days since late July. The Kidney Cancer is not only in the lungs but in the pleural (SP?) space around the left lung there is nothing they can do for this, but hope his new chemo drugs will shrink the tumours. Also, a tumour on the spine which is causing him a lot of pain, and they have now put him on an Extended Release Morphine with Tylenol 3 for break through pain..these are helping him feel much better. We are still trying to be hopeful.
Aug. 4 my oldest and dearest friend like sister lost her 10 year battle with cancer...only 69 years young..she will be in my heart forever.
Aug.22 our National Leader of the Oppostion Party lost his battle to cancer...only 61 years..an honourable,fun, man who believed in people and the environment...he brought hope to politics.
All of these things are making it hard to care about being frugal even if I know how important it is.
But, I have managed a few
--keeping organized which is keeping me sane...sort of
--driving even if I dislike it, it makes life simplier--bought a one month pass for the hospital for $70.00 instead of $10.50 a day as of today I am ahead
--still enjoying whats in the freezer
--even gave myself a pedicure and manicure...one still has to try and feel good
--comparing the ingredients in the over the counter drugs we are being told will help some of DH syptoms, you can really save a lot on these
Sorry for venting...

8-25-11, 9:20pm
You desrve to vent - it's been quite a month for you. Hope things take a turn for the better!

8-25-11, 10:57pm
Big hugs to you, danna. Was just thinking of you today, and glad you posted. Although it sounds like it has been hard, you are so positive to still look for the good things like relief from pain and even frugals you've accomplished through it all!!!

8-26-11, 5:46am
(((Danna))) You are in my prayers! Please don't ever be sorry for sharing your sorrows with us, or for not sharing if you are not up to it. That's what we are here for, to encourage and support each other.

8-26-11, 7:06am
A neighbor called me last night and asked if I could watch her daughter this afternoon for $25. Her daughter is Cheyenne's age and they are friends so it's really not a big deal. They'll all have fun together I'm sure.

The girls have been saving their allowance to see if they can earn enough for a night at the hotel we went to in Wisconsin Dells last winter. They are up to $36. The hotel room was $169 and included two days of the waterpark. I told them if they really do save up the money for the hotel Daddy and I will pay for the gas and food. I think it would be a really powerful lesson in saving money. They know it will take them a long time to earn it and so far they have saved for a month.

8-26-11, 8:59am
LOL. I'm a little manic today. It's almost 8AM and I have made a double batch of cornbread, three loaves of banana bread and a double batch of steel cut oats for freezing. I am also going to freeze some chicken stock I made.

Cheyenne requested going out for fish and chips for dinner. I made no promises, but if the day is going well I can make fried fish at home. I stocked up on Shore Lunch when it was on a big sale and I have some frozen sole. I bet I could even get Dad to stop at the store on his way home and pick up some frozen french fries. I have a homemade lemon icebox pie for dessert.

8-26-11, 12:26pm
Danna, I hope things take a turn for the better soon.

Mighty Frugal
8-26-11, 1:01pm
Danna, I'm sorry you and your family are going through this. I hope the new chemo drug shrinks the tumours.

Stella-I've been meaning to tell you about the allowance I now give the kids. I did get the 'can I spend my $5 on candy?' And thankfully, I had YOUR answer to give-hee! So far, NO purchases. I think they are really learning the value of a dollar and are hesitant to spend it on cheap dollar store crap. I also make them put 50 cents each week in a separate piggy bank (an old instant coffee jar) that I wrote 'Ben's (or Andrew's)teenage years-when they are teens they will thank me for making them give up 10% of their allowance as kids. Plus a nickel each in an old Jelly Belly tin for charity-we are discussing which charity we will donate to at the end of the year (I told them I'd match their donation)

So money management is thriving in our humble abode! We have a fun frugal-ish weekend planned. We are taking the kids to an outdoor safari-I won free tix ($105 value) and packing snacks

Am planning on making my 'healhty-ish' oatmeal choco chip cookies and homemade bread and beef stew next week to welcome in fall and to prepare for the busy school days after Labour Day

8-27-11, 5:20pm
(((Danna))) Hope things start looking up for you soon!

early morning
8-27-11, 10:48pm
(((danna))) you and your DH are in our thoughts....

8-28-11, 8:35am
Danna, best wishes to you and your DH. You have maintained amazing positivity throughout this illness and I hope things soon turn around for you both.

Frugal weekend of fun with friends and very little driving. We hosted a summer bbq for a small group from our church at lunchtime yesterday, which was potluck. Some friends of ours had a dinner party in the evening. Today our church is having a work day to get things back in order for the meeting year, with another potluck lunch. Although many things at potlucks don't fit into my diet, as long as there is some green salad I'm good.

8-28-11, 10:02am
Mighty Frugal I am glad that worked for you!

Sigh. We went to Minnesota State Fair yesterday, so I'm not feeling super frugal, but we did stay well within budget so that is good. It's once a year.

Friday I made money watching a neighbor's kid. Other kids came over and they started talking about Halloween costumes. I handed them each a piece of paper and suggested they draw the costumes they want to make. Cheyenne is going to be Iron Girl, Bella is going to be Rainbow Brite's horse and James is going to be a wolf. All three costumes will have a sweatsuit base, which can usually be gotten cheap and can be used for other purposes. Cheyenne's will have an Iron Girl logo (her own creation) pinned on the front and a helmet made from a milk jug or ice cream bucket. Bella's will have a rainbow tail made of yarn and a white hat (one I already have) with a mane made of rainbow yarn. James' will be gray with gray wolf ears we already have and a tail made from gray fabric. My kids and their friends all want to have a costume making day. I think that would be fun and it would encourage the whole neighborhood to be creative with their costumes.

My friend/housekeeper and I are going to have a canning and freezing day this week. The girls and I went to the farmers market and got tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, green beans and peppers. It should be a fun project. We're going to make pasta sauce, pickles and dilly beans. The farmer's market was so tempting. It was hard not to buy everything. I tried to focus on stuff that wouldn't be available in the fall.

I have been wanting a drying rack for my relatively small kitchen and have had my eye on one from IKEA that is hung from the ceiling and can be raised or lowered. Today it occured to me that the collapsible drying rack Rosemary gave me a few years ago would probably fit under my kitchen desk so I could use it without it being directly in anyone's way. I am going to try that today.

We are going to IKEA today to get the stuff to finish the laundry/dressing area. That is another area I am tempted to buy drying racks for, but I think I'll refrain. I could make a clothesline down there for cheap.

8-28-11, 1:37pm
DH and I are making "Irene bread & butter pickles" riding out the storm. We hope that you all are dry and unhurt.

8-28-11, 3:41pm
Danna... my thoughts are with you!

8-28-11, 7:47pm
Stella, I have always wanted to see the butter sculptures at the MN State Fair!

Well, I met my goal of taking advantage of sunk costs last week. We went to the aquarium using our membership and also twice to the pool we got some tickets to earlier in the summer. Very fun! School starts tomorrow, so I spent some time making a big pot of chili for lunches and cooking up hard-boiled eggs for snacks. Did the meal planning w/ DH and went grocery shopping - only spent about $90, which is excellent. Forgot a couple of things, but thinking I might make it this week on $100. That would be fabulous. Even if I need to replenish more, $125 would be fabulous compared to the nearly $200 groceries have run lately.

8-28-11, 8:01pm
A few to report, though they balanced out a few splurges.

Picked up a bunch of clothes for cheap for Bryce at Herbergers. Their men's clearance is always good. I got a few items on sale, but not rock bottom like his.

Decided to buy some instant coffee for my work coffee. At my new job the coffee is buy-your-own-K-cups. The cost and waste bother me. For the instant I will save about 2/3 over the cost of the cheapest K-cups, and since I don't drink daily, it will last a while. I'm not picky about coffee so I don't really care if it isn't the most awesome thing ever.

B and I went to Mill City Museum with our teacher passes that expire on Labor Day. We saved $20 on admission by using that. We're going to try to go to Fort Snelling before it expires. I've never been to the historic part, even though we live like 2 miles away and were married in the state park! :)

8-28-11, 8:22pm
Aug 28
Thank you all for the good thoughts they help a lot!
--non frugal got pizza for supper but, used coupons and lots leftover
--company dropped by Sat and I was able to serve coffee and a cake had in the freezer (it use really still very nice)

early morning
8-28-11, 8:30pm
My family collects items and makes up gift baskets (which we donate) to raffle off for a fund-raiser for a group we are affiliated with. Generally there are 10 baskets, and we usually take in $800 - $1000 for the organization. It's hard to find nice items and fresh ideas, year after year. But today I found a lovely tea-pot, two matching cups/saucers, and a really neat English tea-cozy - all at Goodwill, for $6.50 total. I'll add a nice packet or tin of tea, and that will make a very pretty basket. Now I'm looking for two inexpensive margarita glasses and a tin of nuts to finish out the "party" basket, and we'll have four basket's worth done! Since my immediate family only needs to do seven baskets this year, we're more than half finished! So far this year our expenditures have been less than $50. This one DH just came up with - saves maybe a fraction of a penny, but the idea is good.. he wanted to soak the head of his battery toothbrush in peroxide but all the containers he found were big, and he didn't want to use that much peroxide. I found him a smaller container, and we filled up the extra space with marbles. Now I know peroxide is really cheap, but I was thrilled that he was willing to even pursue a solution to his quandary!!

early morning
8-28-11, 8:38pm
Bah! Took too long to post......

danna - good thoughts will continue from all here, I'm sure! Pizza with coupons sounds great to me! fidgiegirl - I know you are fine with instant - but for anyone else who is K-cup dependent, they make refillable K-cups. We bought one when we were staying with DH's aunt- her only coffee maker used K-cups and I sure wasn't going to use up her supply! We left it for her, and she says she uses it a lot. They aren't cheap, but if you're a coffee-fiend, they will pay for themselves before too long- K-cups aren't cheap either!!

8-28-11, 8:47pm
Kelli I used to love Forst Snelling when I was a kid!

Bastelmutti we were very excited about the butter sculptures this year because one of the dairy princesses is the daughter of the owners of our dairy. I've always loved those.

We were very tired tonight but we heated something up from the freezer. Speaking of the freezer I came up with a nice, simple organization system for my freezer.

8-29-11, 3:50pm
First post for the month so I almost missed August but I have replaced the elastic in 8 pairs of panties so far. The elastic is going so quickly which never used to be a problem before. Quick and easy to do as well with the stretch zigzag. Quality just isn't there any more in underwear.

Eating out of the freezer for the next while to use up my stockpile of meats and previously cooked items.

8-29-11, 5:11pm
I made seven quarts of pickles today and processed tomatoes, peppers, onions and basil for making spaghetti sauce. The first batch of that is on the stove. My housekeeper/friend helped me so I'll give her some sauce. She has been interested in this kind of thing since we were kids, but she never had anyone to do these things with. She said she is inspired.

We've decided to do more projects together. It's easier with someone else working with me and I have a lot more of the right kinds of equipment than she does. I am hoping that another friend will join us in a lefse making day closer to Christmas (the other friend's mom has a good recipe and a lot of know-how) and I am hoping to get the meat grinder attachment for my kitchenaid mixer to make Swedish sausage. I am sure my great aunt still has my great grandma's recipe. I remember making Swedish sausage with my great-grandma when I was little. That and raspberry jam are the two things I remember "helping" with.

These are some of my Christmas present ideas:

Homemade Swedish sausage
Homemade beeswax lip balm
Homemade raspberry jam
Homemade lefse
Homemade shortbread, krumkake and caramels
Homemade Tourtierre (French Canadian meat pie. Will be frozen for gifts.)

All of those should be affordable to make, some of them downright cheap. Most of them aren't the usual Christmas cookie type of stuff either. The shortbread, krumkake and caramels would be greatly missed if I gave them up. They are those Christmas sweets recipes that were handed down and are a well loved part of Christmas.

I am so excited to have a group of people to do this kind of thing with. It's so much work on your own, but so pleasant when done in a group! The two hours we spent cutting up tomatoes and peppers today went by so fast as we chatted!

8-29-11, 5:32pm
It's been a mix of frugal and not so frugal around here. I can console myself that I used to be pretty much all about not so frugal, so the mix is an improvement! I took a four-day weekend and today is DH's birthday. Unfortunately, he had to work Fri night, Sat night, and today, so I actually felt a bit guilty for having his birthday off when he did not, although he didn't seem to mind. He didn't want a gift, and he countered every gift suggestion I made with a reason why he didn't want/need whatever I was suggesting. I usually buy him a gift and he doesn't usually buy me one. That probably sounds weird, but I am the shopper and he loathes shopping, and I would generally rather buy my own things. So I told him long ago that he doesn't need to buy me gifts; he shows his love in so many other ways, such as feeding me every day! I took him out for lunch Fri afternoon and he did seem to enjoy that. I've also done all his little chores around the house for these past four days in addition to my own, and I even made dinner Sat night (a no-cook dinner, but still a good one, if I do say so myself). So although Friday's lunch did cost money, I feel the birthday gift solution was a frugal one, because I spent the money in a way that was valued rather than mindlessly buying something he didn't want or need (you're getting a present whether you want one or not!) and also gave gifts of my time and energy.
I hemmed another pair of pants, did some yardwork, and picked some lovely bouquets from the garden. I did indulge in a little recreational shopping today, but it was only $15. at Target and the items I bought are useful (a door mat and vitamin C drops). I went to Marshall's, the Dollar Tree, and Ocean State Job Lot, and I wasn't even tempted to buy anything in any of them.

8-29-11, 8:11pm
We had to harvest loads of produce in preparation for Irene, so have been busy turning our tomatoes into pizza sauce that we will freeze. It will taste so fabulous in the middle of the winter! Also made some apples into fruit leather, which will likely last a grand total of 2 days here. Fortunately, we didn't get hit too badly by the storm, so we should still have plenty of things to harvest in the coming weeks. Not much else for frugals to report as we've just been staying home for the most part. I start teaching again tomorrow so I'm going to try to plan to run errands on Tues and Thurs when I'm already out of the house.

8-29-11, 9:56pm
Canned for the first time... crushed tomatoes, salsa, and froze tomato sauce. Thrilled to see the jars lined up on the counter.

8-29-11, 10:09pm
These two 'frugals' involved spending, but...

I'm going to give some aloe plants for the holidays (I split a huge aloe plant back in June, and now all the individual plants look great after a summer on our porch!), and found some pots on clearance this week.

The hardware store had an adapter kit for making standard toilets dual-flush, about half price after a rebate. That should save us some water long-term.

8-30-11, 8:14pm
I went to the farmers market today and bought some peaches and some goat cheese. DH made sandwiches for dinner with grilled japanese eggplant from our garden, goat cheese, romaine, and a garden tomato on fresh grilled sourdough bread - perfection! I got my money's worth many times over!

8-30-11, 9:41pm
Mmmmmmmmmm, rosa!

We just picked up logs from the curb for our backyard campfires. I hate the thought of paying for it. Sometime I want to take the car down the alleys . . . there is usually scrap lumber, too.

8-31-11, 4:55pm
Readers be warned: MAJOR whine warning!

I can't decide if I'm going to laugh, cry or scream. First we had $2000 worth of repairs to the van. My BF has breast cancer. She should be fine but is undergoing chemo & then radiation. She lives nearly 4 hours away which makes it hard to see her in person. Basement flooded. Replaced the dehumidifier, washer & dryer. Had the furnace checked it needs $600 to $800 worth of repairs. Since it is 31 years old we decided to replace it. Today I was in the basement and heard a funny water dripping sound. Leaking pipes in, I think, 2 places. AAAUUGGHHH!!!

The very worst thing is that my MIL was just diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. She just found out about 1 1/2 weeks ago.

I was hoping to hold out until spring to find a part time job but now I am feeling horrible guilty about not having one. Ian gets about $8000 of grants and I have been afraid to increase our income for fear that we would lose that money. But with Tyler starting college next year I am not so worried about messing up the FAFSA then. I am also feeling kind of inadequate because I have been a SAHM for 20 years and have no real job skills and we live in a very small town. So I am torn because I don't know if I would make enough to justify a job that requires driving with gas prices so high. Or is this even a good time to add a job to the stress of dealing with a dying MIL. We realized that we did not deal well as a 2 job family when Deja was living with us but if I can find a part time morning job maybe we'd do ok. I just don't know what to do.

8-31-11, 5:18pm
((((Azure)))) I will add you to my prayer list. That is quite a long list of things going wrong!

8-31-11, 5:20pm
Azure, stinky situation. All of it. When it rains, it pours. (((Hugs)))

Now for the idea part, which I wasn't sure if you were looking for, or just needed a vent. If you didn't really want ideas, stop reading now ;)

Do the boys/can the boys work for some of their expenses? Is there a home-based business you can do to save on the driving expenses related to work? Or maybe a seasonal job would help?

Many times schools need people for recess supervision or working directly supporting students and they do not require degrees for those positions. Sometimes they have a hard time filling their part time ones. Or you could sub in those positions, at least here in our district they hire subs for them just like for teachers. The nice thing about subbing is that once you get in at a place and like it and they like you, you will be called a lot (at least here). Then, if you need a day off, you can just turn down a day, no explanation needed, etc. Of course, then you're not paid for that day and if you're NEVER available, you won't get called anymore. Anyway, it's a thought.

I made another chai rather than stopping for a coffee or using a K cup (DFiL gave me some). Brought my lunch. Before, that wasn't a very big deal of frugality, but in this job, my schedule is faaaaar more flexible and I could easily eat out daily. So now it's back to a matter of will rather than necessity.

9-1-11, 5:24pm
I have been on a canning/freezing spree. I got 1/2 bushel of tomatoes for $15 and then again for $7.50. I really didn't need the second 1/2 bushel but could not resist. $7.5O!!!! So far I canned crushed tomatoes, 2 batches of salsa, and piquant tomato sauce. I froze regular tomato sauce, roasted tomatoes, and whole tomatoes. I also made tomato/pepper relish and a quart of pickles. I still have about 12 tomatoes to decide what to do with. Earlier I canned and froze jams. This is my first time canning and it is so enjoyable to see the reward for all the work. Hopefully, it will all taste good!

9-1-11, 6:20pm
Having a big temptation to eat out right now but we are going to make BBQ chicken out of the chicken that I did up in the crock pot yesterday. Deboning, tho: yucky.

9-1-11, 6:43pm
Good job both of you!

9-1-11, 8:54pm
Azure here is hoping that September is a better month for you....

9-5-11, 5:28pm
Originally posted by Razz.
I have replaced the elastic in 8 pairs of panties so far. The elastic is going so quickly which never used to be a problem before. Quick and easy to do as well with the stretch zigzag. Quality just isn't there any more in underwear.So true. By chance, are you overdoing it with hot water washes and using the tumble dryer more often than not? I find both those things play havoc on all things elastic.

9-5-11, 5:28pm
Danna and Azure. You are in my heart, my thoughts, and my prayers.

9-5-11, 5:46pm
We had a few frugals this weekend: I am using up a bunch of odds and ends in a crockpot veggie stew for lunches.

My friend gave us frozen fish and we will use it, along with some other fish we had bought, in a fish chowder.

Our squash and pumpkin patch at my mom & dad's is CRAZY with at least 30 fruits. Yippee!

We are getting raspberries and a few tomatoes in our garden, so using them here and there. Used some peppers, too.

DH handed down some too-short PJ pants in good shape to me. I'm a shorty. Perfect.

We went to a new dog park. FFF! I might have also found a good location to take runs after work, since it is close to my new location.

Non-frugals: We went to Costco and I had an impulse purchase of two new hot mugs. My current one is ticking me off (leaking and poor design for drinking in the car), but I really didn't need TWO more. One would have been sufficient. Oh well, it's done now. I will take care of them and use them and hope they work out better than my other one.

9-5-11, 6:00pm
Salvation Army had 50% off all clothing today so I was really, really good! I stuck to my list and got two long sleeve T-shirts, one in a funky dark midnight blue very subtle tie-dye pattern ($2.00) and a minty green one with subtle paisley-type pattern for $2.50. Also picked up two Mason jars with brand-new lids for .99 ea. I have decided to put all my funky collections (dominoes, foreign coins, old game bits, etc) in canning jars for fun displays on my shelves, instead of hiding them away in my art room. Looks pretty cool!

Salvation Army was REALLY crowded today because of the sale and it being a holiday, so I had frugal fun just people watching while I stood in line forever to get to the cashier ~ I really didn't mind because I decided today I wasn't going to be in a hurry for anything. Capped off my excursion by eating a DQ blizzard, probably the last one of the season :)

9-5-11, 8:19pm
Haha, looks like more than one of us keeps thinking it is still August!!! :D